Civil partnership ceremonies could
include religious elements under a proposal being considered by
Britain's government, the Telegraph reported.
The move comes after lawmakers lifted a
ban earlier this year on gay unions in churches and other places of
Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone,
the equalities minister, said the government was considering allowing
the use of “religious readings, music and symbols” in gay union
A main distinction between civil
partnerships – first introduced in 2005 – and marriage has been
its secular requirements.
The proposal, however, has already
drawn heated opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and the Church
“The Church of England is not
proposing to open its churches for civil partnership registrations,”
a Church of England spokesman told the paper.
Because the move would remove one of
the few remaining distinctions between civil partnerships and
marriage, gay rights advocates are urging the government to legalize
marriage for gay and lesbian couples.
“Instead of tinkering with the
second-class system of civil partnerships, the government should
bring forward legislation to legalize same-sex marriage,” gay
activist Peter Tatchell said.