The British Government is planning to legalize same-sex marriage by the time next summer rolls around. This means that marriage ceremonies between same-sex couples could be performed as early as 2014. Maria Miller, the Equalities Minister, presented this plan to the House of Commons today. This new legislation includes several particular exceptions, added to pacify opponents of the bill—including a ban on gay marriage within the Church of England and the Church in Wales. Essentially, religious organizations are forbidden from performing same-sex marriages unless it is specifically condoned by their governing body.

These stipulations are meant to protect religious freedom, and certain aspects of the bill are justified (no organization or individual will be forced to perform same-sex marriage, etc.), but forbidding religious individuals that belong to larger organizations from having any say about whether they can marry seems awfully archaic.

Civil partnerships, which hold the same legal status as marriage, have been permitted by law since 2004. However, gay marriage has remained a controversial issue. While the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church have come out against this new legislation, other religious groups such as the Quakers, Unitarians, and certain liberal sects of Judaism say they want to the freedom to perform same-sex marriages.

It will be wonderful to watch as more countries introduce legislation that allows same-sex couples to marry, with no exceptions. But this is still progress, ladies and gents. And that's something to which we should raise our glasses (or teacups, to each her own). 

Image from telegraph.co.uk 

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