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article imageHeirs to the British throne may now marry Roman Catholics

By JohnThomas Didymus     Oct 13, 2011 in World
London - This should be good news for Catholic spinsters and bachelors. Yesterday, Prime Minister David Cameron proposed reforms which include lifting of a 300-year-old ban on heirs to the British throne marrying Catholics.
According to the Edmonton Journal, Prime Minister Cameron has sent a letter seeking approval of his proposed reforms to leaders of other countries who share Queen Elizabeth II as monarch with Britain.
The law Mr Cameron is seeking to reform refers only to Catholics and makes no mention of Jews, Hindus, Muslims or members of any other religious group or sect. It was introduced in England in 1688.
According to Prime Minister David Cameron, in his letter to the heads of the other 15 countries which include Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Belize, St Christopher and Nevis, St Lucia, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Papua New Guinea,
"This rule is a historical anomaly...It does not, for example, bar those who marry spouses of other faiths — and we do not think it can continue to be justified."
Prime Minister Cameron is also seeking the end of a related law which discriminates against female heirs. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the 1701 Act of Settlement gives male heirs precedence over female heirs, even where the female heir is more qualified than the male heir. Prime Minister Cameron in the letter to the leaders, according to the Daily Mail, said,
"We espouse gender equality in all other aspects of life, and it is an anomaly that in the rules relating to the highest public office we continue to enshrine male superiority."
Sydney Morning Herald reports proposals to change the laws have been resisted in the last three decades because it was considered that the process for changing the laws was cumbersome. Daily Mail, however, explains that reluctance to change the laws arose mostly from fears that, in some Commonwealth countries, such as Australia, Republican politicians may "try to amend legislation changing succession laws to have the Queen ousted."
According to the Daily Mail, concern to avoid a constitutional crisis in the event that Prince William and his wife Kate have a baby girl, spurred the move to change the 1701 Act Settlement. Daily Mail also confirms Buckingham Palace has approved the move to change the laws.
Yet another law proposed for change is that which says descendants of King George II (1727-1760) must have the permission of the monarch to marry. The law, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, will now affect only first six in line to the throne.
In spite of proposed change to the law which says heirs to the throne may not marry Catholics, Catholics will still not be allowed to become King or Queen of England for reasons a constitutional expert explains:
"The monarch is supreme governor of the Church of England and is required by the Act of Settlement to be in communion with the Church of England and the rules of the Roman Catholic Church forbid that."
More about British throne, Catholics, David Cameron, Queen elizabeth II, Royals
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