Plans to allow religious buildings in England and Wales to host civil ceremonies announced.
Currently same-sex couples are prevented from registering their civil partnership in a religious setting.
But this ban will be lifted to allow greater freedom for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
Home Secretary and minister for women and equalities Theresa May said: ‘This government is committed to both advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and ensuring freedom of religion for people of all faiths, which is why we will be allowing religious organisations to host civil partnership registrations if they choose to do so.’
She added that the change is voluntary so religious groups do not have to host civil partnership registrations if they do not wish to do so.
Real desire to address the difference
Lynne Featherstone minister for equalities said that the government intends to take formal steps to address the difference between civil marriage and civil partnership. ‘Over the past few months I’ve spoken to a lot of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and campaign groups, and it quickly became clear that there is a real desire to address the differences,’ she explained. ‘I’m delighted to announce that we are going to be the first British government to formally look at what steps can be taken to address this.’
This change in rules will only apply to England and Wales.
It is a matter for devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland