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Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by Alan4discussion

There is a statement of the UK government "position" here:-

Government defends gay marriage law change plans -

Downing Street has defended plans to change the status of civil ceremonies to allow gay and lesbian couples in England and Wales to get married.

It said it was confident safeguards to stop religious organisations being forced to take part in services would not be overturned by European courts.

The Church of England has said the move would "alter the intrinsic nature of marriage as the union of a man and a woman".

Ministers plan to pass the law by 2015.

In its 11 June response to a consultation on the issue, the Church of England said plans to exempt religious organisations from performing gay marriages would be unlikely to survive legal challenges in domestic and European courts.

However, Home Secretary Theresa May has said she believes ministers can create safeguards to protect the concerns expressed by religious groups.

"The government is not going to ask anybody to do anything that is against their conscience," she said.

"We want to ensure that we can put into place a framework that makes sure that those people who don't want to host same-sex marriages are not required to do so."

So the politicians are flip-flopping as usual!

Analysis - Clive Coleman BBC News legal correspondent

If the state sanctions marriage between same-sex couples, and one of those couples is deeply religious and wants their marriage ceremony to take place in a church or other place of worship, could they bring a legal challenge?

The answer is yes, and the basis is article 9 of the Human Rights Act which protects freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Any such challenge would be likely to end up at the European Court of Human Rights and would be against the UK government's decision to legalise only gay civil marriages, and ban religious ones.

However, critically, that would not compel religious institutions to carry out same-sex marriages.

It would be more likely to allow religious institutions to choose whether to marry gay couples, and indeed allow individuals within those institutions to choose whether to conduct religious ceremonies.

That would lead to a patchwork landscape for those seeking a same-sex religious marriage, with couples having to shop around.

It could also lead to ructions within a religion where the governing body remains against same-sex marriage, but individual members of the clergy decide that they are content to perform a religious ceremony.

Those who conduct a ceremony get paid fees by those being married, those who do not, lose trade!

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 17:45:16 UTC | #947085