A Home Office spokesman said that the consultation on reforming the marriage laws would only cover civil marriage for same sex couples and not religious marriage. Ministers have ruled out making it compulsory for churches or other faith groups to host gay or lesbian marriages.
The Home Office also made clear that one option that will not be included in the formal consultation on reforming the marriage laws is giving heterosexual couples reciprocal rights to civil partnership ceremoniesI used to say I don't know anyone who wants to force a non-cooperative church to carry out same-sex marriages but thanks to Mike Weatherley, a misguided Tory MP, I can no longer say this. It's certainly not something I've ever wanted to do. However, I believe it's an important principle of religious freedom to allow religious organisations, who wish to marry same-sex couples, to do so.
I also think that given the mess made by the Labour Government over civil partnerships, it's important to open those up to heterosexuals just as we open marriage up to same-sex couples.
The proposals by the Coalition Goverment are another step in the right direction. I'm sick and tired of steps in the right direction. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I try to be reasonable. But just how many steps in the right direction must we all endure before there is one marriage law for all in this country?
This does not solve the problems faced by transgendered people and allow a legally continuous partnerships should they transition from one gender to another. It forces religious LGB people who want to marry their same sex partner to instead civilly partner them. It is simply a compromise too far.
Lynne Featherstone and the Liberal Democrats will crow over this "advance" as it "goes well beyond the Coalition agreement". They may crow over abandoning equality before the law as a principle, I shall hang my head in shame instead.
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist