Tory MP Matthew Offord: Equal marriage ‘is an attack on religion’

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Conservative MP Matthew Offord has compared the same-sex marriage bill to part of what he sees as an anti-religious campaign, and is calling for a reintroduction of council meeting prayer recitals.

Mr Offord, the MP for Hendon in north London, has tabled an amendment to the Local Government Act, which calls for the practice of prayer readings to once again become part of council meetings. This was outlawed by the High Court last year after a successful challenge by the National Secular Society.

The MP said: “I think there is a genuine trend against religious practices. Those of faith are made to feel like there is something wrong with them.

“Same-sex marriage is an attack on religion. They want to make significant changes to the religious belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

“They want to redefine it and that has taken the religious meaning out. In a multi-cultural area like Hendon, the reading of prayers at council meetings is important to members.”

Mr Offord proposed the bill yesterday, tabling an amendment to the act allowing councils permission to hold prayers at their discretion.

“These bills do not have a good track record of going through but I’m hoping it will.”

The MP said that the ruling is an example of a “wave of attacks” against religion, including, he added, the proposed Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

Last year he warned that the bill would “allow the introduction of polygamous marriages.”