New Chapel Opening Underneath Parliament For Same-Sex Weddings

st mary undercroftFunny thing about the United Kingdom’s pending equal-marriage law: They sort of forbade the Church of England from performing same-sex marriages.

Because the UK has an official church—and not the alleged separation of church and state we do in the States—they addressed the whole religious/civil rite situation differently when it came to marriage equality.

At least as we understand it, ministers in the Church of England are exempt from performing same-sex nuptials—which really kind of means they can’t conduct them, even if it wanted to.

Other denominations, other faiths? Go crazy.

David Cameron’s government is really keen on equal marriage, so it’s in talks to turn the Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft, a worship space nestled in a crypt beneath Parliament, into a multi-faith center where same-sex couples can be married by the clergy of their choosing (so long as they aren’t Anglican).

Under the gay marriage legislation currently passing through Parliament, the chapel will not be able to offer such ceremonies, because the Church of England is to be exempt from the new law.

To get round this and to ensure same sex marriages can be held there, plans have been introduced to convert the room into a multi-faith area.

This would allow gay couples to be wed by ministers from religious denominations such as Quakers and Liberal Jews who have indicated they will perform the ceremonies.

completed by Edward III in around 1365, the chapel has been the main chapel for the Palace of Westminster for seven centuries, except when it was used as a stable and a wine cellar. While St Stephen’s is the chapel of the royal family, the court and the royal household worshiped at St Mary.
Labour MP Chris Bryant devised the plan to convert the chapel into a same-sex love nest, and he’s already gotten approval from the Speaker of the House of Commons. “St Mary Undercroft has been many things in its time. It was the Speaker’s dining room and before that Cromwell used it to stable his horses,” said Bryant. “It is a bit odd that we have no place for people of other faiths to worship. If we have got over this hurdle with Catholic masses being celebrated there it seems odd not to allow services of other denominations to be held there.”
Because of its location, the chapel comes under the direct authority of Queen Elizabeth, who would have to give her blessing.