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.”
Picture credit darcyandkat