UK govt makes it official: Full Gay Marriage to be legal
The UK’s odd-couple coalition government of Liberal Democrats and Conservatives is pushing ahead with plans to allow gay couples to marry. As a first step civil partnerships will now be able to take place in religious buildings
In a statement released on Thursday, the Home Office confirmed it was seeking to change the law so that places of worship in England and Wales could host civil partnerships for same-sex couples.
The new law would be voluntary and no religious organisation would be forced to accommodate same-sex couples if it goes against their spiritual beliefs.
The Church of England along with British Muslim groups are deeply opposed to the idea, but the Quakers released a statement saying they were “heartened” by calls for “full equality of civil marriages and civil partnerships” – support is also expected from Unitarians and Liberal Jews.
Gay rights campaigners have welcomed the announcement but some are disappointed that a timetable for gay marriage was not revealed.
However the Equalities Minister Lynn Featherstone, a Liberal Democrat, indicated that it was a long-term goal.
Featherstone: “It is the first steps towards equal civil marriage and equal civil partnerships, and that’s long been called by many in the homosexual and heterosexual community. I think the answer is, that it will take as long as it takes, but I’m hoping (laughs) it won’t take too long”.
In light of recent tensions within the coalition government, Featherstone was keen to point out the Conservative Party members of the cabinet were “one hundred percent” behind the plans for marriage reform.
–Scott Roberts in London