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Whitehall flies rainbow flag for London Pride

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg ordered the flag be flown over the Cabinet Office in a show of support for equality.
Lgbtflag wihtehallEnlarge
The rainbow flag, symbolising gay pride, flies above the Cabinet Office in central London, on July 6, 2012. The British government on Friday hoisted the rainbow flag symbolising gay pride over one of its ministries for the first time. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg requested the flag be flown on Whitehall, the central London street that houses several ministries, ahead of the World Pride parade celebrating gay rights in the British capital on Saturday. (CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

A pride flag is flying over Whitehall today in honor of London's LGBT pride festival, which kicks off this Saturday. 

The Cabinet Office, where Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has his office, is the first UK central government building to fly the flag, coming just hours after Clegg said he supported churches performing same-sex marriages. 

Clegg called flying the flag a "small but important emblem" to show support for eqality, according to the Telegraph

''I'm absolutely delighted that, with a little bit of persuasion and determination, we've been able to fly the rainbow flag for this weekend's festivities," said Clegg. "I hope this is the start of a new era of pride across the historic Whitehall village.''

More from GlobalPost: The global impact of Obama's support for gay marriage

Yesterday, Clegg voiced his personal stance on same-sex marriage in an interview with the Evening Standard, saying he believes religious institutions should be able to perform marriage ceremonies if they choose to, but that no church would be forced to perform marriages they don't want to. 

“I don’t see why two individuals who love each other and want to show commitment to each other should not be able to do so in a way that is socially recognised as being marriage," said Clegg.

The interview has ruffled feathers in the religious community, specifically in the Anglican and Catholic churches, which fear they will be forced into performing same-sex marriages.

A Liberal Democrat, Clegg is following the lead from Tory and Labour party members who have also come out in favor of allowing same-sex marriages in church. 

According to the Evening Standard, "Nick Herbert, the openly gay Home Office minister, called for the move in a Standard interview last month and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper held a summit for churches in favour."

More from GlobalPost: Church of England objects to UK gay marriage plans

Prime Minister David Cameron has proposed legalizing marriage equality in the UK, but Clegg has taken it a step further, saying that if a religious institution wants to perform a ceremony for a gay couple, they should be able to. 

The Telegraph reported that groups including the Quaker and Unitarian churches, as well as some branches of Judaism have said that they "would like to be able to conduct same–sex weddings."

For more of GlobalPost's coverage of LBGT rights around the world, check out our Special Report "The Rainbow Struggle." 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/rights/whitehall-flys-rainbow-flag-london-pride