UK Could Allow Religious Unions That Closely Resemble Marriage

British MP Lynne Featherstone claims that the country's government might soon allow gay and lesbian couples to incorporate religious traditions when they "marry."

 The Daily Telegraph reports:

Lf"Lynne Featherstone, the equalities minister, said the Coalition was considering allowing same-sex couples to include key religious elements in civil partnership ceremonies.

"In a parliamentary answer, she disclosed that homosexual couples could be permitted to use 'religious readings, music and symbols.'"

"This would make civil partnerships practically indistinguishable from traditional weddings as Parliament recently removed the bar on same-sex unions in churches and other places of worship through an amendment to Labour’s Equality Act."

"The proposals will delight equality campaigners who believe civil partnership is a 'second-class' status, but they prompted fierce opposition from mainstream Christian leaders who believe marriage can only take place between a man and a woman."

"Church of England sources warned that the Government could not make such dramatic changes merely by issuing regulations or guidance, as the current Civil Partnership Act prohibits the use of religious services during the registrations."


  1. Lars says

    We are either equal or we are not.
    Patronizing half measures do not cut it.
    Even Catholic Spain and Portugal have legalized gay marriage.
    How long will it be before we are granted our full rights as citizens?
    The United States will be the ultimate test, Great Britain is merely America Lite.

  2. says

    This shouldn’t be hard to sort out. Let couples, any couple of sound mind and limited consanguinity, have a legal ceremony to ensure they become a unit in the eyes of the government for tax benefits, hospital visiting rights, funerary responsibilities, parenting contracts, etc. If they want to involve a religious element, let them then get a blessing from their pastor/priest/imam/wiccan/religious person of their choice. If the venue is comfortable hosting both elements, then great.

    Making marriage a religious issue is not helpful for anyone.

  3. adalard says

    “The United States will be the ultimate test, Great Britain is merely America Lite” -Lars.

    Civil partnerships across the UK not just in selected parts of the country;

    LGBT equality in immigration;

    Anti-discrimination legislation in respect of employment and provision of services;

    Gay men and women serving in the armed forces…

    Strikes me that the US could learn some lessons from “America Lite”!

  4. AlaninLondon says

    Lars you show the arrogance that brings so much hostility to the US abroad. The US is the ultimate test? GB US lite? So what is achieved elsewhere is rubbished? You need to take time out, and look at what we are achieving here in Europe and perhaps you might be better informed and even learn something. In the UK Civil Partnerships give us eveything that marriage gives other than the name. And as Adalard has pointed out we have achieved so much more else besides. In the Gay Pride march in London Saturday our armed forces took part IN UNIFORM, out and proud, men and women who are fighting alongside the US in Afghanistan. Oh sorry, that doesn’t matter until we see the same in the US? Many of us love you guys in US here in Europe – but please don’t make it harder to defend you by your crass arrogance.

  5. says

    The distinction between civil partnerships and marriage are:

    – one is called Civil Partnership and one is not
    – CPs are not allowed to take place in a religious setting or ceremony

    Bearing in mind even hetty marriages have a separate bit for the signing of the register – the ACTUAL LEGAL BIT – I really don’t have a problem with CPs versus Marriage.

    In the UK, in all other legal aspects civil partnerships and marriage are equivalent. Civil Partnerships in the US may be a half-measure, but they are not here.

    As an atheist I rather approve of keeping Churches out of the equation, and I struggle to understand those who profess faith in religion.

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