The House of Lords has recently voted in favour of allowing same-sex couples to be married. Although British Law has recognised civil partnerships since 2004, the proposed amendment to the Equality bill would go further and enable same-sex couples to be married in religious premises. Despite any discomfort some religious groups may feel, it should be noted that there is no intention at present to make the provision of such marriages compulsory, instead the idea is to expand choice. Some religions such as the Quakers, Liberal Judaism and the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches have already expressed an interest in offering marriages to same sex-marriages. In some cases blessings are already being offered to couples after they have been through the civil partnership service.
Given the House of Lord’s overwhelmingly positive response to the amendment it seems unlikely that the House of Commons will attempt to stand in its way. However, the forthcoming election may well slow down the process.
By Henry Munson
(Vol. 3, June 2008)
By Joel James Shuman
From The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics