Civil Partnerships in Religious Premises a step forward
Derek McAuley, Chief Officer of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, has described the Civil Partnerships in Religious Premises a step forward as a step forward for equality and religious freedom.
"The implementation of the Regulations to allow Civil Partnerships in Religious Premises a step forward for equality and religious freedom. I am confident that many Unitarian churches and chapels will be registering their premises however it is as yet unclear how soon the legal processes to be followed with local authorities will be completed.
Unitarians will have open approach to couples, as we have with those wishing to marry, who come to us to celebrate their relationship in a religious setting. We were amongst the first denomination to marry divorced people and to conduct marriages between people of different faiths. I hope we will again be trailblazers of social reform.
The Regulations that came into force on 5th December 2011 are a reasonable response to the practical issues involved in registration and offer safeguards to those churches who do not wish to undertake civil partnership registration.
The opposition to implementation of the Regulations in both Houses is an attempt to frustrate the wishes of Parliament when the Equality Act was passed and must not succeed.
Anyone interested in finding out more about registering a civil partnership should contact their local Unitarian church or chapel and their Local Authority Registration Service."
The Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 - which contain the new arrangements relating to religious premises - were laid before Parliament on 8th November 2011 and came into force on 5th December 2011.
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