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article imageCameron promises churches will host gay partnership ceremonies

By Andrew John     Jun 17, 2010 in Lifestyle
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that same-sex partnership ceremonies will be able to be held on religious premises.
He was speaking Wednesday night at the first ever gay event to be held at the official residence of a Tory prime minister; such receptions have been held under the previous Labour government.
The reception was held in the Rose Garden of Number 10 Downing Street. It was attended by representatives of gay groups, plus gay and straight Members of Parliament.
“He promised the crowd the coalition government would change the law to allow religious buildings to host civil partnership ceremonies, a measure introduced in the last parliament by out gay peer Lord Alli,” says Pink News.
Back in February, before the recent general election (which left Britain with a hung parliament), the country’s upper legislative chamber, the House of Lords, ruled that religious premises should be allowed to be used for civil partnership ceremonies, something that has hitherto not been allowed.
Now, the promise has been made by a Conservative prime minister, who has been courting the pink vote since he became leader of the then opposition party while Labour were in power.
Cameron told Wednesday’s reception that his party had not always got things right on the question of gay equality. “I don’t need to say that all again, but what I do say is I know we didn’t get this right in the past, I know that we were slow learners, we had a long way to travel, but I am proud of the fact that we have travelled a long way in terms of supporting civil partnerships, in terms of standing up for equal rights and for equal treatment, and I think that is very important.”
‘Legalistic nonsense’
Cameron is further quoted as saying: “I am pleased to announce today that we are taking a further step, and I think a good step and a right step – and I say this as someone who believes in marriage, who believes in civil partnership, who believes in commitment – and that is to say that if religious organisations, if churches, if mosques, if temples want to have civil partnerships celebrated at religious places of worship, that should be able to happen and we should make that happen.
“Of course those organisations that don’t want that to happen have their rights too, but we shouldn’t let some legalistic nonsense get in the way of people who want to celebrate civil partnerships in churches, and when there are churches that want that to happen, we should allow that to happen.
“I think that will be an important step forward and we are going to make sure that that does happen.”
Cameron added: “The truth is we will never really tackle homophobic bullying in schools and we will never tackle homophobic issues in the workplace just by passing laws; it is culture change and behavioural change that is needed as well.”
More about Civil partners, Religious premises, David Cameron, Civil ceremonies, Gay
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