UPDATE: Faith Groups Welcome Lord's Amendment

Publish Date: 04/03/2010

The vote was passed in the House of Lords on Tuesday 2 March, by 95 votes to 21. 

The amendment to the Equality Bill was jointly sponsored by the Unitarians, Liberal Judaism and the Quakers, with support from other inclusive religious communities such as the Metropolitan Community Church.

The Deputy Chair of Manchester Liberal Jewish Community says, "Our community is committed to accepting and welcoming all Jews regardless of their sexuality with equal rights and dignity. We welcome this extension to religious freedom in UK and look forward to being able to have our rites legally recognised.

"This is an enormously important step forward towards full marriage equality. We are very proud of Liberal Judaism for sponsoring this amendment. MLJC will be registering for civil partnerships as soon as the Commons passes the new Act."

Liberal Judaism is one of three major strands of the Jewish faith, preserving the core beliefs and practices that underpin the religion, but believing that ancient laws must be interpreted to ensure that ethical values and practices take account of what we know about the world as it is today.  Ethical behaviour and social action take priority over ritual."

The Reverend Jane Barraclough, minister of Cross Street Unitarian Chapel in Manchester city centre, was enthusiastic about the news: "At last (if the bill is passed) liberal people of faith can register their partnerships in their places of worship.  We can welcome all those who share our progressive and tolerant values to our churches and chapels and celebrate the blessing of their relationships and their lives together."

Unitarianism in Britain grew out of the radical Christian dissenting movement in the seventeenth century and has no set beliefs among its members. Today, Unitarians are encouraged to find spiritual truth in their lives for themselves.

Equality, diversity and justice are core values for both Liberal Jews and Unitarians. Both movements have welcomed LGB&T people into their congregations for many years.  Openly LGB&T people participate fully in community life and leadership in both movements, which includes some serving as rabbis and ministers. Both movements are to begin amending orders of service for same-sex commitment ceremonies.

Tim Moore, a member of Cross Street Chapel and Associate Member of MLJC added, "I am very proud to be so closely involved in two of the inclusive religious movements who have taken a unified stand for equality and tolerance and against prejudice and discrimination.  The latest amendment on civil partnerships is just one more success in the growing national campaign for full marriage equality for LGBT people.
"Liberal Jews, Unitarians, Quakers and their supporters have witnessed to their faith based on conscience, guided by reason, and tested in welcoming communities.  We will continue working with our partners on looking into ways of furthering the campaign in the North West for marriage equality."

Andrew Gilliver, Communication's Manager at The Lesbian & Gay Foundation, said: "The passing of this amendment is an important step forward for LGB&T equality and LGB&T people of faith, but these rights will only be secured with the passing of the Equality Bill.

Once these rights are secured, the next challenge is ensuring marraige equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. We believe in an equal and fair society where lesbian, gay and bisexual people have the right, if they wish, to marry in the same way that heterosexual people can."

RELIGION AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION MASTERCLASS: Confused about religion and sexual orientation and how they sit together on the equalities agenda? Come to the LGF's Keep the Faith Masterclass, for more information, click here.

For further information and enquiries, please contact Tim Moore of Cross Street Chapel and MLJC. E-mail t.j.moore@dunelm.org.uk

  • Yewtree

    I am very very pleased about the change in the law. Well done to all the Unitarian, Quaker, Jewish, MCC & Stonewall activists who have campaigned for this.