End sought to 'anti-Catholic bias' in Britain

London, England - A British Conservative on Tuesday called for an end to the "anti-Catholic bias" in wedding laws pertaining to the royal family.

Laws that would allow Prince William, the oldest son of Prince Charles, to marry an "atheist or a Satanist but not a Roman Catholic" were illogical and discriminatory, conservative backbencher Edward Leigh said in parliament.

Leigh, himself a Catholic, said he wanted members of the royal family to be able to marry a person of "any religion or none".

The law excluding Roman Catholics, going back to the year 1700, was in breach of human rights and should be repealed, he demanded.

Under that law, still valid today, any member of the royal family who marries a Roman Catholic is automatically excluded from the line of succession.

"Prince William, if he chose, could marry somebody who is Jewish - why not? - or Muslim or someone who is atheist, someone who is agnostic, he could even marry if he wanted, a Satanist. That would be perfectly allowable", Leigh said.

Members of the royal family should be able to "fall in love with whoever they please and get on with it like everybody else", he added.

Leigh was speaking in support of a back-bench Royal Marriages (Freedom of Religion) Bill he proposed in parliament.

The bill, which has cross-party support, received an unopposed first reading on Tuesday but stands no chance of becoming law due to lack of parliamentary time.