David Cameron Supports Gay Marriage in Churches; Religious Leaders Worried

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By Myles Collier, Christian Post Contributor
December 7, 2012|3:52 pm

British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to announce his support for religious institutions wishing to perform same-sex ceremonies, which would go against his earlier pledge of not forcing those institutions to participate.

Cameron has repeatedly stated that he would not force churches to oversee such ceremonies and has stated that he would respect and protect the religious freedom of religious institutions.

However, reports from the U.K. indicate that next week, the Prime Minister will announce plans to allow some religious institutions to perform civil ceremonies, while allowing those who wish not to the opportunity to back out. There would have to be measures providing their right to do so.

Skeptics argue that such a double standard would only complicate the legal process and pose a threat to those religious institutions that choose not to oversee such ceremonies.

"Churches could be embroiled in legal actions … the government seems to have decided that it's better for churches to be sued than for the Government to be sued in the European court," Colin Hart, Campaign Director of Coalition 4Marriage, told the Christian Institute.

"Surely they need to reconsider this rushed legislation, which is jeopardizing the freedoms of those who believe in traditional marriage," he added.

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It is still unclear what the potential legal ramifications could be should such an open measure be made law, and how that would affect religious institutions who refuse to conduct same-sex ceremonies, citing a conflict of conscience.

The Church of England issued a statement regarding the supposed new developments and insisted that the government protect the traditional notion of marriage while also allowing individuals the right to enter relationships with whomever they choose.

The CofE did maintain that the government should not meddle with the definition of marriage as this would lead to a "dilution in the meaning of marriage for everyone."

A spokesman for the government tried to quell any fears or anxiety ahead of the upcoming consultation announcement next week.

"We are very clear that religious organizations must be protected and that none will be forced to conduct same-sex marriage," according to a statement issued by the U.K. government. "EU law is very clear that this is the case and we will additionally bring in very strong legal locks to ensure that this is watertight."

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