Earlier this week a potentially life-changing announcement was made with regard to gay marriage. Prime Minister David Cameron expressed his wish to allow same-sex couples to get married in churches, as heterosexual couples do, stating: “I don’t want gay people to be excluded from a great institution”. Cameron went on to say that if the proposal was passed, no places of worship would be forced to hold homosexual ceremonies if they were against it, saying that it would be “absolutely clear in the legalization”.[quote align=”right” name=”David Cameron” role=””]I don’t want gay people to be excluded from a great institution[/quote]
Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill was “delighted about the government’s statement” and said that they would back the proposal 100%. Summerskill further stated that they were particularly happy with the decision to allow gay marriage for the religious denominations willing to carry out such ceremonies, citing this extension of the original proposal as an “important matter of religious freedom”.
After initially considering a ‘3-line whip’, the Labour party have since decided to give the MP’s a free vote on the subject; something Cameron granted the Tory’s earlier this year.
On the 11th December 2012, it was announced by Culture Secretary Maria Miller that the legislation allowing same-sex marriage will be brought forward in 2013. Religious groups such as the Quakers and Unitarians have already voiced their support for the legislation and have stated that they will carry out such ceremonies. Miller stated; “I now look forward to a free, open and rigorous debate on the legislation, which we will introduce early next year.”
The Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England are opposed to equal marriage and thus, within the bill. it will state that it is illegal for these two institutions to engage in same sex ceremonies.
If legalised this proposal will help same-sex couples be viewed as equal to their heterosexual counterparts; something which has been campaigned for several year. Such equality is sure to be a historic event for all it affects.