A chapel located beneath the Palace of
Westminster is being considered as a venue for gay weddings.
A bill which seeks to make England the
twelfth nation to legalize gay marriage received an
initial nod from the House of Commons in February.
Under the proposed marriage reform,
churches will be allowed to marry gay and lesbian couples. However,
the Church of England is to be exempt from the new law.
Under a plan being considered by
ministers, the Anglican chapel of St. Mary Undercroft, a popular
marriage venue for members of parliament, would be changed to a
multi-faith prayer room.
Converting the chapel to a multi-faith
area would allow gay couples to be wed by ministers from other faiths which
wish to do so. Such denominations include Quakers and Liberal Jews.
According to the UK's The
Telegraph, the proposal is being championed by MP Chris
Bryant, a vocal supporter of marriage equality.
Noting that the chapel is already being
used to hold Catholic masses, Bryant called it “odd” that other
faiths were left out.
“St. Mary Undercroft has been many
things in its time,” Bryant told the paper. “It was the
Speaker's dining room and before that Cromwell used it to stable his
“It is a bit odd that we have no
place for people of other faiths to worship. If we have got over
this hurdle with Catholic masses being celebrated there, it seems odd
not to allow services of other denominations to be held there.”
The chapel was completed under King
Edward I in 1297 and survived a massive fire in 1834 that destroyed
the Houses of Parliament, which are located above it.