Friday, 16 December 2011

Edward Leigh MP Urges Government to Protect Religious Freedom

Local Parliamentarian Leads Backbenchers in Move to Block Civil Partnership Change

Gainsborough's Edward Leigh MP has led a group of backbenchers in an attempt to block legislation allowing same-sex couples to hold civil partnership ceremonies in places of worship. The group are concerned that the legislation in question fails to ensure churches are not forced to host civil partnership ceremonies even if it goes against their beliefs. Controversially, the government is attempting to pass the relevant law without subjecting it to a proper debate in the House of Commons. Mr. Leigh told a newspaper:
“These regulations don’t do what the Government promised, which is to protect churches that do not want to register civil partnerships.”
 “It is an issue of the utmost seriousness. Yet the Commons isn’t even being given a chance to debate them.”
“We’ve seen all this before. The Sexual Orientation Regulations went through Parliament without proper scrutiny and they closed down our adoption agencies as a result. If the Government cares anything about the churches, it will withdraw these regulations.”
Ministers insist religious groups will not be forced to host civil partnership registrations, but expert legal advice has suggested activists will be able to take legal action on human rights and equality grounds.