On Tuesday December 11, the British government unveiled a proposal regarding same-sex weddings in England.
According to The Washington Post, Culture Secretary Maria Miller told Parliament that the new proposal will allow gay and lesbians to marry in certain churches, mosques, synagogues and temples. The proposal, though, will exclude the established church.
The Church of England and the Church of Wales will not be allowed to marry same-sex couples. According to Miller, outgoing and incoming archbishops of Canterbury insist that marriage remain between a man and a woman.
“We will write on the face of the bill a declaration that no religious organization, or individual minister, can be forced to marry same-sex couples or to permit this to happen on their premises,” Miller told the House of Commons.
Many religious groups including Quakers and liberal Jewish groups strongly support marriage equality. The Church of England, Church in Wales, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Jews still strongly oppose same-sex marriage.
The bill will be presented to the House of Commons as early as Spring 2013. Members of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative party will be allowed a “free vote”. At this point, though, more then 100 members of Parliament have already expressed their opposition to the proposed legislation.
If this bill passes, England’s LGBT community could be allowed to marry in England and Wales as early as 2014.
Rights activist Peter Tatchell stated “The government’s commitment to allow most religious organizations to conduct same-sex marriages — but not the Church of England and the Church in Wales — is a disappointing fudge that perpetuates inequality. Denying these churches the right to opt in and host same-sex marriages undermines gay equality and religious freedom.”