February 24, 2010

Clerics support gay ceremonies in church

by David Masters

Senior Anglican clergy have written a public letter calling for the law to be changed so that same-sex couples can hold a civil partnership ceremony in religious venues, including churches and synagogues.

In a letter to the Times, the clerics said current laws unfairly discriminate against homosexual couples because it does not give them the same choice as those in a heterosexual relationship.

The letter, signed by clerics including the Bishop of Salisbury, the Dean of Southwark, and five former bishops, reads: “Straight couples have the choice between civil marriage and religious marriage.

“Gay couples are denied a similar choice.

“To deny people of faith the opportunity of registering the most important promise of their lives in their willing church or synagogue, according to its liturgy, is plainly discriminatory.”

The religious freedom of the Church of England is being protected at the expense of the religious freedom of gay couples, the clerics claimed.

Leaders of the Unitarians, the Quakers, and Liberal Judaism have already announced that they would register civil partnerships on their premises if the law was changed.

The clerics said the Equality Bill should be amended to reflect their concerns before it is proposed on 2nd March.

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