Under a proposal planned for early next year in the U.K., same-sex marriage will be legalized throughout Great Britain, but the Church of England and the Church in Wales would supposedly be protected from having to perform such “marriage” ceremonies. Following a nationwide “consultation” that found a slim majority of the British citizenry supported the move, the U.K.'s culture secretary, Maria Miller, announced December 11 that legislation would be introduced into Parliament to redefine marriage to include homosexual couples.
In a news release Miller's office explained that the legislative proposal would be designed to “create watertight protections for religious organizations that do not want to conduct same-sex marriages, but will allow them to ‘opt in’ if they so choose.”
The release added that the “historic move” would mean “same-sex couples will be able to get married in civil ceremonies; religious organizations who chose to ‘opt in’ will be able to conduct marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples; and a ‘quadruple lock’ of measures in domestic legislation would protect religious freedom, putting beyond doubt the possibility of successful challenge through domestic or European courts.”
In a statement Miller called marriage “one of the most important institutions we have in this country. It binds us together, brings long-term commitment and stability, and makes society stronger. Our proposals mean that marriage would be available to everyone. I feel strongly that, if a couple wish to show their love and commitment to each other, the state should not stand in their way. These changes will strengthen marriage in our society and ensure that it remains a modern and vibrant tradition. And we are also building a fairer society for all.”
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