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Government response on redefining marriage due before Christmas

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Culture Minister Maria Miller MP has said that she plans to respond to the government’s consultation on redefining marriage by the end of the year.

The consultation, which considered legally redefining marriage, closed in June and received a record 228,000 responses.

Petition

This figure does not include those who signed the Coalition for Marriage petition which opposes any redefinition. Over 600,000 men and women signed it and their names and addresses were submitted to the Home Office as part of the consultation process.

But there are now concerns that these responses will be ignored.

Protections

Mrs Miller attempted to provide assurances that churches would be protected if same-sex “marriage” is introduced.

She said that there would be “locks” ensuring churches are not forced to wed same-sex couples.

“I would not introduce a Bill that would in any way impinge on a church’s power to decide who it marries. Faith groups should have the ability to control that. There are already clear protections within European law.”

Scepticism

However, church leaders and legal experts have been sceptical about government assurances on the matter.

In a case earlier this year, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) quoted a non-binding resolution. It said that if States introduce same-sex “marriage,” they will be obliged to ensure that the rights of such couples are the same as for heterosexual couples “in a similar situation.”

This could mean that any legal safeguards put in place for churches by the British Government would be worthless if cases were brought to the ECHR.

Source:

The Telegraph

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