Unitarians welcome House of Lords support for Civil Partnerships in Religious Premises
15th December 2011
Derek McAuley, Chief Officer of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches , has welcomed the support of the House of Lords for civil partnerships taking place in religious premises.
Derek McAuley said:
"The support in the House of Lords is great news for equality and religious freedom. Many Unitarians and Free Christian churches in England and Wales will be keen to take advantage of this opportunity and move forward on registering their premises with individual local authorities.
As a truly inclusive church we see the provision of civil partnership registration on our premises as a step towards equality and a recognition of the validity of same sex relationships for those who wish their partnership to be celebrated in a religious or spiritual context. We will be welcoming to all who come to us; you do not have to be a Unitarian or Free Christian, only sincere in your motives and wish for a religious element to mark this important step."
Faith bodies urge Lords to reject challenge to civil partnerships
13th December 2011
Representatives of Quakers in Britain, Unitarians and Liberal Judaism have written to leaders of the three main parties in the House of Lords urging them to reject a challenge to the regulations bringing into effect civil partnerships being celebrated on religious premises.
Quakers in Britain and Unitarians and Liberal Judaism have campaigned for and welcomed the opportunity to register premises for civil partnerships.
The letter said: "We are writing as representatives of three faith communities to urge your support for the Regulations implementing the registration of Civil Partnerships in religious premises when this matter is debated in the House of Lords on 15th December 2011.
Liberal Judaism, Quakers in Britain and the Unitarian and Free Christian Churches have indicated that they would wish to take up the opportunities offered by the legislation which was passed with support from all parties. We recognize fully the rights of those who did not wish to do so and are clear that the legislation protects the freedom to say no as well as yes. We do not believe the state should force churches or faith communities to act against their sincerely held beliefs; however, we claim the same right in accord with our own deeply held views of equality and justice.
Our wish to undertake civil partnerships registration in a religious context reflects our shared commitment to the inherent worth of each individual and our respect for loving relationships between people of the same sex.
There has been growing acceptance in England and Wales of a broader view of what family means reflecting the increasingly varied pattern of relationships, including same sex couples. Faith communities like our own have similarly embraced this diversity. We were pleased that Parliament recognized this when it approved civil partnership registration in religious premises. We look forward to putting in place this legislation.
The letter was signed by Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain , Derek McAuley, Chief Officer for General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches and Rabbi Danny Rich, Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism.
Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (SI 2011/2661) Baroness O'Cathain will move that a Humble Address be presented to Her Majesty praying that the Regulations, laid before the House on 8th November, be annulled on the grounds that they do not fulfil the Government's pledge to protect properly faith groups from being compelled to register civil partnerships where it is against their beliefs. 43rd Report from the Merits Committee
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