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Bid to force churches in England and Wales to perform same-sex weddings

March 2019

There was an attempt in the House of Lords to change the law so that clergy in the Church of England and the Church in Wales would be forced to perform gay weddings.

The amendment was signed by Lord Collins of Highbury, but it was withdrawn before it could be voted on.

In 2013, when the UK government brought in same-sex marriage, it promised ‘iron clad’ protections so that ‘those who do not want to conduct same-sex marriages will never have to’.

Clergy in the Church of England and the Church in Wales need specific legal protection because they are otherwise under a legal duty to conduct marriages where one party lives in the parish.

A statement released by the Coalition for Marriage said, ‘These amendments from Lord Collins and co. break all the promises that were made by politicians in 2013.

‘They make a mockery of the “iron-clad” assurances that the religious freedoms of vicars, priests, and imams would be protected should the legislation go through’.

Responding to Lord Collins’ amendment, the government said it was opposed to any changes to the protections for clergy regarding gay weddings.

Government Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford said, ‘It is not for the government to mandate this through regulations’.