Labour shadow minister resigns for ‘misjudged’ remarks on same-sex marriage

Labour’s shadow minister for faith has resigned and issued an apology for “misjudged” comments relating to same-sex marriage.

Janet Daby, the MP for Lewisham East, suggested last week that there “needs to be something in place that respects people’s conscience and views of faith” if they refused to certify same-sex unions.

In a statement on Monday, Ms Daby insisted she was a “proud supporter” of gay marriage, adding: “On Saturday Labour celebrated 15 years of civil partnerships, and all the progress we’ve made since.

“I sincerely apologise for my misjudged comments on Friday, and have decided to resign as shadow faith minister.”

The host of the session questioned Ms Daby about cases of registrars being sacked for refusing to hold same-sex marriages.

They added: “Is that the appropriate response or should there be special arrangements for the believer in those circumstances?”

Ms Daby replied: “This is to do with a person’s own conscience around this really around this. It’s similar to a vote of conscience in the Parliament as well. My own view around this that I’d like to have some more information on it obviously, I’d like to have those conversations with people.

“It’s almost similar as well to whether someone wish to partake in the medical process of an abortion – I think nurses have a choice.

“This is highly complex and controversial and there needs to be something in place that respects people’s conscience and views of faith, as well as that protects people’s right that want to ensure that they can also be treated equally within their own rights as well. I think that needs to happen.”

According to guidance published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the same-sex marriage Act in 2013, registrars, as public officials, are required to exercise their duties without discrimination.

It added: “The Act does not allow them to refuse to marry same sex couples, even if they have a religious or philosophical objection to doing so.”

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “Janet Daby has today stood down from her role as a shadow minister. We will appoint a replacement in due course.”

The LGBT+ Conservative group described Ms Daby’s comments as “outdated, outrageous and out of line” as they welcomed her decision to stand down.

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