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Cooper meeting on gay marriage

06 July 2012


Yvette Cooper

Yvette Cooper

CLERICS and religious leaders who support same-sex marriage met the Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, in Westminster on Wednesday.

Those who attended the meeting included Canon Giles Fraser, Priest-in-Charge of St Mary's, Newington; the Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Dr Jeffrey John; the Revd Sharon Ferguson, chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement; and Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for the Quakers.

Before the meeting, Mr Parker said that the Government's proposals on same-sex marriage "allow civil partnerships in Quaker meeting houses, but that is not a marriage; it is a legal contract, not a spiritual one. That is why we are seeking a change in the law so that same-sex marriages can be celebrated within a couple's worshipping community. . . We don't seek to impose this on anyone else. For Quakers this is an issue of religious freedom."

Ms Cooper, who is also Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, responded last month to a submission from senior church officials to the Government's same-sex marriage consultation last month, (News, 15 June). She said: "Two people who love each other and want to make a long-term commitment to each other should be able to get married, whatever their gender or sexuality.

"Whilst opposition from some church leaders has been strong, just as it was against civil partnerships seven years ago, other prominent church figures are supporting same-sex marriage. We should not allow the debate to be polarised on religious grounds, as there are many views within and between different faiths."

Changing Attitude was scheduled to meet the House of Bishops Working Group on Sexuality yesterday. Last week, Changing Attitude asked supporters for suggestions about what to say to the group, which it said would be communicated.

A petition that opposes the official Church of England submission on same-sex marriage has attracted nearly 4000 signatures. The organisers of the petition plan to present it to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on Saturday, during the meeting of the General Synod in York.


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