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Cross Street Unitarian Chapel First to be Awarded Licence for Civil Partnerships

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Cross Street Unitarian Chapel, Manchester has this week been awarded a licence from Manchester City Council to hold civil partnerships on its premises.

The General Register Office believe that Cross Street Unitarian Chapel are the first religious premises in England & Wales to be licenced for CP's. This will enable gay and lesbian couples to hold a religious wedding ceremony on religious premises, with the civil ceremony taking place before or afterwards.

The Revd Jane Barraclough, minister of Cross Street Unitarian Chapel, says:

"We are delighted to be able to offer this service to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community, which we consider a basic human right. We note with sadness the history of homophobia in many faith traditions as well as the current hateful language from some faith leaders that has received so much coverage in the media.

But this is a time of great celebration for us, not sadness.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Manchester Registers' Office who have gone out of their way to help us with the application process. The City of Manchester also has a long and fine tradition of celebrating human diversity in all its glorious manifestations."

Councillor Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, with special responsibility for equal opportunities, said: " When the legislation changed the Council acted quickly to make it possible for religious buildings to apply for a licence. As a city which embraces the equality agenda it is no surprise that Manchester is one of the first cities to licence a religious building to hold civil partnerships registrations. We were pleased to support the Unitarian Church through this process."

Unitarians offer a spiritual community based on common values of mutual respect and spiritual exploration, rather than fixed beliefs and traditions. They have a long history of inclusivity over issues of marriage, as well as many others. They were amongst the earliest to train women clergy. In 1977 it was formally resolved that Unitarian ministry be open to all, regardless of sex, race, colour or sexual orientation, since when there continue to be a number of openly LGBT ministers serving the denomination.

Cross Street Chapel is celebrating the 350th year of its congregation this year, 2012.

Unitarians continue to lobby for full and equal access to marriage in this country.

Contact details: Revd Jane Barraclough, Cross Street Unitarian Chapel, Manchester, M2 1NL t: 0161 834 0019 m: 0772 962 4043 e: revjvb@gmail.com

Online coverage of Cross Street Item

BBC

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-17311555

The Guardian

www.guardian.co.uk/uk/the-northerner/2012/mar/10/chapel-manchester-civil-partnerships

Manchester Evening News

www.menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1487989_manchester-minister-says-critics-of-gay-marriage-law-give-religion-a-bad-name

KEY103 (with interview)

www.key103.co.uk/news/local/civil-partnerships-manchester

Mancunian Matters

www.mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/12032661-manchester-cross-street-chapel-first-england-and-wales-get-civil-partnership-licenc

Pink News.com

www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/03/12/unitarian-chapel-in-manchester-celebrates-first-civil-partnership-licence