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Friday, 7 December 2012

Unitarians welcome statement by Prime Minister in support of same sex marriage in churches

I welcome the statement today by David Cameron supporting the holding of same sex weddings in churches.

The Prime Minister, speaking after an event in Redditch today, said: 'I'm a massive supporter of marriage and I don't want gay people to be excluded from a great institution.

'But let me be absolutely 100% clear, if there is any church or any synagogue or any mosque that doesn't want to have a gay marriage it will not, absolutely must not, be forced to hold it.

'That is absolutely clear in the legislation. Also let me make clear, this is a free vote for Members of Parliament but personally I will be supporting it.'

Legislation has been promised before 2015, and it is anticipated that next week Culture Secretary Maria Miller will launch the government’s plans in response to this summer’s consultation on equal marriage

Unitarians look forward to the announcement and that this will mean we will be free to conduct same-sex marriages in our places of worship if congregations wish to do so.

We don't expect Parliament to force other churches or individual clergy, who may disagree with us, to marry same-sex couples if they do not wish to do so. However, we do not consider that our wishes should therefore be set aside. We claim the right to do so in line with our own deeply held convictions about the inherent worth of all individuals and for public recognition of relationships.

Civil partnerships in religious premises, whilst welcomed by Unitarians, are not a substitute for same sex religious marriage. The introduction of civil partnerships in religious premises has faced difficulties and progress has been slow although several Unitarian congregations have registered to host ceremonies and some have taken place; the first being in Ullet Road Unitarian Church in Liverpool.

It is evident that there has been little public disquiet or indeed interest. I would think this will be the response if religious marriage for same sex couples was permitted with churches simply left to chose. There would be a flurry of media interest and then people would simply get on with their own lives.”

1 comment:

  1. There are two bills likely to come before Parliament soon ; one to legalise same-sex marriage and one to monitor communications more closely than previously.
    Both involve potentially threats to personal freedom; the latter may involve the storing of all e-mail and internet use by citizens, the former may curtail the right of institutions of faith to conduct ceremonies of marriage as they have previously done.Legislators hasten to assure us that these fears are quite unfounded and that individual liberties will be preserved.However neither pieces of proposed legislation were included in the election manifesto of the governing party and are not likely to be put before the people in a referendum . The last General Assembly rushed through a motion opposing the communications provision (without knowing any of the details ) but passed a motion endorsing the former. The position of marriage as an institution describing the union of a man and a woman and the privacy of the communications between individuals are so fundamental that I would maintain that neither measure should be passed into law until a proper consultation with the people ( through referendum or election) has taken place. You may be correct (in both cases ) in saying that it is "evident that there has been little public disquiet or indeed interest." As we are already finding out in the case of the Police Commissioners, questions will soon arise after these measures pass into law when it may be too late for second thoughts.