Labour MP Janet Daby has resigned as the party’s shadow faith minister following comments she made about same-sex weddings.
The MP for Lewisham East stepped down from the role on Monday 7th December and issued an apology for her remarks.
During a Zoom briefing for the Religion Media Centre last week, Ms Daby said there should be a conscience clause that allows registrars who have religious objections to same-sex weddings to turn down officiating duties at such ceremonies.
It is currently illegal for a registrar to refuse to officiate a same-sex wedding ceremony due to their faith.
Responding to a question as to whether it was acceptable for registrars to be sacked for refusing to hold same-sex wedding ceremonies, Ms Daby compared such a case to a vote of conscience in parliament and a medic with a conscience objection to abortion.
“This is to do with a person’s own conscience really around this and it’s similar, probably, to a vote of conscience in the parliament as well,” Ms Daby said in response to the question.
“My own view around this is that I’d like to have some more information on it, obviously, I’d like to have those conversations with people.
“I think it’s almost similar, as well, to whether someone wishes to partake in the medical process of an abortion, I think nurses have a choice.
“This is highly complex and controversial and I think there needs to be something in place that respects people’s conscience and views of faith, as well as that protects people’s rights that want to ensure that they can also be treated equally within their very own rights as well. I think that needs to happen,” Ms Daby said.
In a Twitter post on Monday, Ms Daby said: ‘I’m proud to support same-sex marriages. 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.’
A Labour spokesperson said: “Janet Daby has today stood down from her role as a shadow minister. We will appoint a replacement in due course.”
Ms Daby’s office said: “Janet’s comments were made in consideration of a person of faith asking the question, but do not reflect her views – she is fully supportive of equal marriage, and believes registrars should not be in the role if they do not want to conduct same-sex weddings.”
Picture: Janet Daby. (Richard Townshend).