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UK Allows Civil Partnerships in Churches

UK Allows Civil Partnerships in Churches

The UK will allow lesbian and gay couples to hold civil partnership ceremonies in churches.

The 2005 law which instituted civil partnerships disallowed them in any religious setting in a concession to the religious right, but various religious groups – such as Quakers, Unitarians and Liberal Jews – have petitioned the British government to allow them to be held in their buildings.

The Church of England has said they will refuse to opt in, and there has been some fear-mongering that churches will be forced to allow ‘gay marriages.’

The British government has announced that it will consult on introducing full marriage equality. The devolved Scottish government has also announced a consultation, with the major parties there all saying they support marriage equality.

At the Conservative party conference, British Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“We’re consulting on legalising gay marriage. To anyone who has reservations, I say: Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.”

Both the Church of England and the Catholic Church have opposed the move.

The Catholic Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, the Rt Rev Kieran Conry, warned that Mr Cameron would not be given “an easy ride on this.”

“I think the Church will have to do something. We can’t just let this slide by and say we are not interested,” he said.

But there has been little disquiet to Britain legalizing gay marriage within the Conservative party and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, told the BBC he “believes in a liberal democracy, and actually wants equality with everybody” but did not want churches to be told what to do.

“You mustn’t have rights that trump other rights,” he added.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics [ONS] in September show that gay couples appear to be staying together longer than straight ones.

After five years, 5.5 percent of marriages had ended in divorce and 2.5 per cent of civil partnerships had been dissolved.

The same ONS report also surveyed attitudes to gay marriage and found that:

“People living in European countries which have recently legalised same-sex partnerships are likely to have more positive attitudes to homosexual marriage than those in countries where there is no such law.”

Related stories:

Will Spain Go Backwards on Gay Marriage?

Denmark Next for Gay Marriage?

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Picture credit darcyandkat

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26 comments

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9:42AM PST on Feb 14, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

1:10PM PST on Dec 6, 2011

I think they can perfectly go together in the same sentence, can't see why not. This is about love not about ignorance or prejudices. Great news!!

8:56AM PST on Nov 8, 2011

Homosexal and marriage do not belong in the same sentence

4:41AM PST on Nov 7, 2011

A very misleading headline. "UK Allows Civil Partnerships in Churches"? No it hasn't. It hasn't even begun to discuss the matter within parliament, which is only the first step towards a change to the law. All the UK government has done so far is to express clear support for such a move and to announce that there will be a consultation on the subject: there is a long long way to go yet.

Also, while there have been plenty of sociological arguments in favour of full homosexual marriage, the statistics quoted in the article are worthless. As homosexual civil partnerships are still a fairly new thing and were long awaited, a high proportion of them are those couples who have been together for a long time just waiting for the opportunity, whereas marriage has a higher proportion of people "rushing into it". Similarly, as civil partnerships are much more about making a public statement of a union than marriage (which people have been doing routinely for centuries), again there is a higher proportion of people entering into it who are determined to make it work.

12:40PM PST on Nov 6, 2011

Good question Magdalen B. Another one of those rants. I wish I was going to live long enough to see the demise of religion,; that day will come.

3:21PM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

A master class in history Paul.....a green star is wending its way to East Anglia.

12:57PM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

And no-one cares what the Church of England thinks, anyway. Be free to marry where and how you want. Or don't marry at all. Just mean it and believe it.

12:55PM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

Steve R: You have dragged this debate so off-topic with your WW2 non sequitur. So, here goes. US policy was to sit on the fence and let Europe slug it out. Only FDR's vision and intellect foresaw a Great Britain defeated by a Third Reich - which had been arming for global domination since 1933 - and used as no more than a stepping-stone to bridge the Atlantic. The British, with its Empire allies, was fighting Germany, Italy and Japan on every front and was stretched to breaking point. After a few years' consolidation, Greater Germany would have targeted the US. London withstood the battering from the V1 jet bomb and the V2 rocket yet the Nazis had plans for the V20 which could cross the ocean and deliver an atomic warhead to New York and Washington. Consider that and the Final Solution enacted on American soil. America did not do us a favour, Steve - she saved herself.

10:43AM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

@Dawid
Apparently the Church of England (Anglican) has become so benign and accommodating that they now find it slightly embarrassing to even discuss God.....

10:13AM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

So many religious groups have chosen to serve people rather than the Creator. I am surprised that the Anglican church has shown some sound judgement!

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