Homosexual couples should be able to register civil partnerships in churches which wish to hold them, according to the Prime Minister.
Mr Cameron revealed his stance on the controversial issue last night as he became the first Conservative Prime Minster to host a Gay Pride reception.
And earlier in the day Home Secretary Theresa May, who is also the Minister for Women and Equalities, unveiled the coalition Government’s plans for further homosexual ‘rights’, including a commitment to “better recording of hate crimes”.
Speaking at last night’s reception Mr Cameron said that he would “make sure” that religious organisations, including churches, are able to host civil partnerships.
The prospect of civil partnerships being held in churches became a reality earlier this year following a controversial amendment to the Equality Bill, proposed by the homosexual peer Lord Alli.
But the Government must first pass regulations to bring the scheme into force.
Mr Cameron said: “I am pleased to announce today that we are taking a further step, and I think a good step and a right step – and I say this as someone who believes in marriage, who believes in civil partnership, who believes in commitment – and that is to say that if religious organisations, if churches, if mosques, if temples want to have civil partnerships celebrated at religious places of worship, that should be able to happen and we should make that happen.”
“Of course those organisations that don’t want that to happen have their rights too, but we shouldn’t let some legalistic nonsense get in the way of people who want to celebrate civil partnerships in churches, and when there are churches that want that to happen, we should allow that to happen”, he continued.
In March Rt Revd Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester, expressed his concerns over Lord Alli’s amendment, saying: “I believe that it will open, not the Church of England, but individual clergy, to charges of discrimination if they solemnise marriages as they all do, but refuse to host civil partnership signings in their churches. Unless the Government does something explicit about this, I believe that is the next step.”
Humphrey Dobson, Deputy Director for Policy and Staffing at The Christian Institute, said today: “It is vitally important that the expected regulations fully protect the religious liberty of churches.”
Yesterday it was also revealed that Theresa May had committed the Government to furthering homosexual rights in the UK in a controversial new equality document, entitled Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality.
The document contains a number of commitments including a pledge to promote “better recording of hate crimes” against homosexual and transgender people, and a pledge to tackle homophobic bullying in schools.
It also reaffirms the Government’s commitment to pushing support for homosexual ‘rights’ on other countries.
Existing ‘hate crime’ guidance has led to a number of Christians being subjected to police investigations.
In October it emerged that a Christian grandmother, Pauline Howe, was investigated by police for ‘homophobic hatred’ after objecting to a ‘gay pride’ parade in her home town of Norwich.
And in 2005 Christian pensioners, Joe and Helen Roberts, were interrogated by police because they had expressed their opposition to their local council spending public money on ‘gay rights’ projects.