First of all, the articles, letters previously listed from last week are now all available without subscription.
Second, this week’s news report written by me can be read now, see Alteration proposed for Bill.
…The effect of the amendment is to require that the approval of individual religious premises for the registration of civil partnerships needs consents from a “person specified, or a person of a description specified” in new regulations to be laid before Parliament after consultation with various religious bodies.
The present rule forbidding the use of any religious premises for civil-partnership registrations remains in force in the mean time. The amendment specifically allows for distinctions to be made, not only between religious premises and “other premises” but also between different kinds of religious premises. For example, the arrangements for Quakers might be different to those for Liberal Judaism. Nor would it be necessary for the regulations governing civil partnerships to be identical to those relating to civil marriages in the same venue.
A spokesman for the Archbishops’ Council confirmed on Wednesday that the amendment took account of discussions held with the Government. The Church of England’s concern, he said, was to ensure that the regulations provided for an opt-in or opt-out at denominational level. The C of E (and other denominations) wanted to be able to nominate a national body to declare a position on this issue, before individual applications could be made. This was what the Quakers themselves had done (Comment, 12 March)…
And the CT blog has noted that Equality Bill: Amendment allowing civil partnerships in church buildings could be lost, and linked to the letter already published here.