Various Items 

Gay partnerships to be classed as marriages

In what must be considered a death blow to the concept of marriage as being one man and one woman in a faithful and monogamous relationship a new law is being introduced which will class gay and lesbian partnerships as marriages.

 Elton JohnGAY MEN AND LESBIANS are to be given the same right to marry as heterosexual couples under marriage law reforms expected to be announced this week.

The historic change will end the legal definition of marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. A gay man would be entitled to call his spouse his husband, while married lesbians would be able to describe themselves as wives.

Civil partnerships, made legal in 2004, already confer almost identical legal rights as marriage regarding inheritance, pensions and status as next of kin. However, they are regarded by many gay people as a second-class option and the introduction of gay marriage carries considerable symbolic significance.

Under proposals to be put out to consultation by the equalities minister, same-sex couples would be given the right to hold traditional weddings in register offices and other civil settings, ranging from country houses to football grounds. Religious faiths would be able to decide whether to hold gay weddings. The Quakers, who recognised gay marriage in 2009, are expected be the first mainstream faith to marry homosexuals.
In a separate move expected to be announced this week, the government will make it legal for civil partnership ceremonies to be held in places of worship, including churches, synagogues and mosques.  Read full story in the Sunday Times....

When the Equality Bill was passed by the House of Lords last March, a spokesman for the government equalities office said the move paved the way to allow religious groups "to let civil partnership ceremonies take place in their churches, mosques, synagogues and so on if they choose to do so".

The spokesman added: "It will not force any religious group to do anything that is not compatible with their faith."

However, according to the Sunday Telegraph,  the new move could open up a legal minefield with same-sex couples possibly taking anti-discrimination action against religious groups if they were barred from getting married in the place of worship of their choice.

The government consultation will also look at allowing heterosexuals to have civil partnerships if they want.

Comment: Whilst these developments are truly lamentable and indicative of a society in moral freefall, a net effect could be – if it is not being seen already — a means whereby the Lord of the Church will separate out the wheat from the chaff in all that purports to be the Christian religion; and at the level of denominations, local churches and individuals within.
For believers in Christ who are faithful to God's word it is truly time to seek fellowship within local expressions of the body of Christ who are worth of His name and operate to God's praise.

Christians Together, 13/02/2011

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