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15
Feb

Church civil partnerships to become legal

gayweddingThe Government is pushing ahead with its plans to allow religious institutions to host civil partnership ceremonies – if those institutions wish to do so. The Government announced the plans last year, and Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone confirmed in mid-February that the coalition government, following a suitable period of consultation, was proposing to lift the ban. However, the change would not compel any particular religious venues to host ceremonies. Although representatives of the Quakers have indicated that they would be interested in hosting civil partnerships, others – including members of the Church of England – have said that their venues would not plan to do so. The move has been welcomed by gay rights campaigners, although some say that the chances do not go far enough.

“Allowing religious civil partnerships is long overdue,” said veteran human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. “It was agreed by parliament nearly a year ago. There is no excuse for the government's long delay in putting it into effect. Permitting faith organisations to make their own decision on whether to conduct same-sex civil partnerships is the democratic and decent thing to do.”

“The next logical step is to end the ban on gay civil marriages. I urge the government to bring forward legislation to ensure marriage equality. Gay civil partnerships are not good enough. They are not equality. In a democratic society, everyone should be equal before the law. All couples - gay and heterosexual - should be able to get married in a civil ceremony in a register office.”

Published: 15 February 2011

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