April 7, 2010

Quakers to conduct same-sex civil partnerships


by David Masters

Quakers have welcomed a new law that allows same-sex civil partnerships on some religious premises.

The law, part of the Equality Bill, was passed through the House of Lords yesterday.

“This provision in the Equality Bill represents a small but emblematic step towards the goal of full gay equality,” said Gillian Ashmore, recording clerk for Quakers in Britain.

Unitarians and Liberal Jews are also expected to take advantage of the new law by hosting same-sex unions on their premises.

The House of Lords assured conservative religious organisations that the Equality Bill will not force them to conduct civil partnerships against their conscience.

“The new regulations would allow denominations who don’t wish to host civil partnerships to exercise control over their places of worship,” said Baroness Royall, Leader of the House of Lords.

“There is no question of the proprietors of religious premises being liable for discrimination for deciding not to host civil partnerships on their premises.”

Harriet Harman, Equality Minister, said the Equality Bill is “a historic piece of legislation”.

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