Ruth Kelly today confirmed that legislation outlawing discrimination against gay men and lesbians will not be introduced before April.
Speaking in the House of Commons Ms Kelly blamed the delay in implementing the rules, which were do to come into effect this month, on a high level of responses to Government consultation.
The regulations are opposed by some on religious grounds and the delay has led to claims that Ms Kelly, who belongs to the Opus Dei, is allowing her religious views to interfere with Government duties.
At the time of her appointment as Communities Secretary Ms Kelly refused to say whether she consider homosexuality to be a sin. According to the website pinknews.co.uk she has been absent from a number of landmark pro-gay bills.
Ms Kelly has previously defended her voting record saying “everybody is entitled to express their views in free votes on matters of conscience and I’ve always made clear that as a member of parliament I’ve cast my vote according to conscience but I’m also a member of the government its my duty to see through equality and I’m passionate to see there is no discrimination.”
Earlier this week the LibDem Spokesperson for Women and Equality Lorely Burt MP said the party “had always feared that Ruth Kelly’s personal beliefs would make her unsuitable to be a champion of gay rights. Unfortunately these fears have become reality and she should now stand down.”
The delay means it remains lawful to refuse to serve gays and lesbians on purely bigoted grounds.