Nick Clegg was left red-faced after being forced to withdraw comments in which he branded opponents of gay marriage ?bigots?.

The deputy prime minister was expected to launch an outspoken attack on opponents of the policy in a speech at a reception on Tuesday.

Extracts released early by officials said: ?Continued trouble in the economy gives the bigots a stick to beat us with, as they demand we ?postpone? the equalities agenda in order to deal with ?the things people really care about?.?

Within an hour aides had corrected the text, insisting an early draft had been released in error.

The revised version said: ?Continued trouble in the economy leads some people to demand we ?postpone? the equalities agenda in order to deal with ?the things people really care about?.?

The plans to introduce gay marriage face fierce opposition from Tory backbenchers, despite having the support of David Cameron and the other main party leaders.

The government has promised to make gay marriage law by the time of the next election in 2015, however campaigners have raised concerns it may be dropped to appease Cameron?s right-wing.

Celebrity campaigners and religious figures are being served Ben and Jerry?s Appley Ever After ice cream, specially renamed by the company.

In his remarks tonight, Clegg will still roundly reject calls for the move to be put on hold until the economy revives as ?utter rubbish?.

?As if pursuing greater equality and fixing the economy simply cannot happen at once,? he will say.

?I want you to hear it straight from me tonight: the idea that the two are mutually exclusive is utter rubbish. A nonsense this coalition government will never bow to.?

In March Stonewall expressed disappointment that legislation was not included in the Queen?s Speech.

Source The Huffington Post UK

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