Will churches really be sued for not allowing civil partnerships? is the title of an excellent, detailed analysis by Matthew Flinn at the UK Human Rights Blog.
Matthew provides a detailed explanation of the wording of all the relevant sections of the applicable statutes and regulations, with links to the text. I may reproduce some of that detail in a later article here.
He then goes on to discuss whether or not there is any risk of a successful discrimination claim being brought against anyone for refusing to make religious premises available for such an event. His conclusion:
In the round, the concerns of religious institutions that the changes will, in themselves, require them to facilitate civil partnerships are probably unfounded. Although this is certainly not the only question posed by the changes; there are other dilemmas which may arise pursuant to the operation of ecclesiastical law. For example, the Church of England, which has made clear it will forbid its churches to be used to facilitate civil partnerships, may face difficulties in preventing rectors who have freehold title to parish property for using their premises for that purpose, and there may be issues in disciplining a clergyman who invites a civil registrar onto his premises to conduct a civil partnership ceremony.
And he ends by saying:
…In the meantime, it is possible that some religious institutions are really more worried about the ever closer prospect of full marriage equality for homosexuals, than of the risk of being sued.