Prime Minister David Cameron’s push for marriage equality in England will allow for religious organizations to perform same-sex unions in houses of worship, while organizations that disapprove of gay marriage will be legally protected from hosting such ceremonies.
The London Evening Standard reports:
It means all three party leaders now support a historic equality reform that would once have seemed incredible — that homosexual partners can have the same civil marriage rights as heterosexual couples and even get married in a religious setting…government lawyers…have devised a foolproof legal “lock” to protect churches that oppose the reform from being dragged in. This will be written into legislation and the Government will also go to Europe to seek guarantees.
Both the Catholic Church and the Church of England are opposed to the measure, while other groups such as the Quakers, Unitarians and Liberal Jews have been vocal about the right to marry gay worshipers.
Cameron’s view is that there is no reason to ban all places of worship from voluntarily hosting same-sex weddings, providing these “locks” ensure none will be forced to take part.
“We are committed to bringing equal civil marriage forward and the consultation results will be announced next week,” said a government spokesman. “We are very clear that religious organizations must be protected and that none will be forced to conduct same-sex marriage.”
Out4Marriage, a cross party and cross media campaign supporting marriage equality in England, praised the government’s decision in a statement:.
“We are glad that they appear like us to believe in religious freedom, that churches must have the freedom to decide themselves whether to allow gay couples to marry. We eagerly await the full details of this historic change in the law next week.”
(h/t: Pink News)