Equal Love Case • Update
UK News • Polari Magazine
April 15, 2011
Since our last article on the UK’s Equal Love Campaign, significant progress has been made. On 31 March 2011 the British Government published a consultation document which seeks your views on how to enable civil partnership registrations on religious premises in England and Wales.
The consultation document concerns the implementation of section 202 of the Equality Act 2010, outlines proposals for new arrangements and seeks views from all interested parties. Because this is a permissive provision, religious organisations that do not wish to host civil partnerships will not be required to do so as a result of this change.
The implementation of section 202 of the Equality Act 2010 is the first part of the Government’s work on the next steps for civil partnerships as set out in the document Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality. Having listened to stakeholders it is clear from many that there is a desire to move towards equal civil marriage and partnerships. The Government will consult further on how legislation can develop, working with all those who have an interest in this area.
Civil partnerships on religious premises: a consultation sets out detailed proposals for this voluntary measure which enhances the freedom of both faith groups and same-sex couples. The proposals are designed to enable faith groups to opt in, respect the different decision-making structures of different faith groups, minimise the risk of successful legal challenges and be straightforward for local authorities to operate. The law will make clear that faith groups are not obliged to host civil partnerships. It would also be unlawful for a civil partnership to be registered on a religious premises that had not been approved for the purpose by the local authority. That approval will be given only with the approval of the faith group concerned.
What is proposed is a two stage process for enabling civil partnerships to be registered on particular religious premises. First the faith group concerned will have to consent to this and the consultation document sets out how this could happen. Then the local authority in whose area the premises is located will have to approve the premises and the consultation document sets out what conditions should apply to the approval. The registration of civil partnerships would remain secular, despite taking place on religious premises, but a religious service could be held to mark the registration.
This consultation will be of particular interest to:
faith groups including religions, denominations and individual independent religious congregations
Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) organisations, LGB individuals and their families and friends
Local authorities, including registrars and other relevant local authority employees
owners and managers of buildings approved for civil marriages and civil partnerships
The Consultation document can be found on the Government Equalities Office website here and comments from interested parties are welcome.
If you have any queries on this consultation, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the website to join the UK’s Equal Love Campaign