Via Integra

Fr Mark's progressive Anglo-Catholic take on European Christianity

  • This is my collection of material about the current state of the churches in Europe. I am interested in looking at how they are dealing with the pressing issues of our time: the issues of gay people and women in ministry/ leadership are particularly pressing at the moment, as is the area of declining church attendance.

    I would like to see how Europe's traditional religious institutions are coping with the new Europe currently being forged, in which public opinion and ethical attitudes are becoming inceasingly pan-European, and are evidently presenting a series of strong challenges for the churches.

United Kingdom – the gay issue

Posted by Fr Mark on July 23, 2010

‘Gay couples will get equal right to marry’

The Coalition will give homosexual couples the same legal rights to marriage as heterosexuals, a senior Liberal Democrat has said.

From The Daily Telegraph, 19.7.10

Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem deputy leader, said that the Government will allow same-sex couples to have “civil marriage” with same legal status as marriage between a man and a woman.

His comments follow moves by a Lib Dem minister to allow homosexual couples to have religious elements to their civil partnership ceremonies.

Under current rules, same-sex couples can contract a civil partnership, which is recognised in law but not given the same status as marriage for a heterosexual couple.

Mr Hughes predicted that before the next general election, the law will be changed to give an equal right to full marriage.

“It would be appropriate in Britain in 2010 to have civil marriage for straight people and gay people equally,” he said.

“The state ought to give equality. We’re halfway there. I think we ought to be able to get there in this Parliament.”

Earlier this month, Lynne Featherstone, the equalities minister, said the Coalition was considering allowing same-sex couples to include key religious elements in civil partnership ceremonies.

The full equality that Mr Hughes advocated would go further than that, although he insisted any change would be limited to civil marriage and would not place any obligations on religious groups to marry same-sex couples.

Mr Hughes, regarded as being on the left of the Lib Dems, has been critical of some Coalition policies and has threatened to reject parts of the Government’s Budget package.

But, in comments to, an internet-based interview site, he backed the Coalition and said it was increasingly following a Lib Dem agenda.

“All the time, we are making Tories, at least Tories in government, more enlightened and that must be good for the country,” he said.

During the election campaign, the Conservatives were the only main party to suggest that they would consider allowing full homosexual marriage. Some lawyers say that would be easier to legislate for than altering existing laws on civil partnership and civil marriage.

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