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Saturday, 2 April 2011


At last there is light at the end the tunnel with progress with civil partnerships in religious premises. The timetable should see the first applications for registration by the end of 2011. The Government's Equalities Office have published a consultation paper for the implementation of civil partnership registration in religious premises accompanied by a written Ministerial Statement. This is an important milestone on the journey to equality. The "devil is in the detail" and the consultation paper raises lots of questions. Our task must be to ensure that the implementaton process is simple and at reasonable cost for congregations. The deadline for response is 23 June 2011. There is already active opposition to this measure and we should not assume this will go away. Unitarians have welcomed heterosexual couples from a range of backgrounds who come to us seeking a marriage ceremony that reflects their own personal beliefs rather than having to go along with restrictive ancient rites . Same sex couples wishing to celebrate a civil partnership will have the same flexibility. The debate about the wider issue of marriage equality has only just begun. This change only applies to England and Wales and not Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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