Senior Anglican bishops have backed calls to relax the ban on homosexual couples marrying in church in a move likely to deepen divisions in the Church of England.
By Heidi Blake
A proposed amendment to the Equality Bill to lift the ban on civil partnerships in religious premises is thought to have gained the backing of bishops in the House of Lords.
The move would open the door to the registration of civil partnerships in churches, synagogues, mosques and all other places of worship.
A group of senior clerics, including the Bishop of Salisbury, the Dean of Southwark and four retired bishops, wrote in a letter to The Times today that religious denominations should be allowed to choose whether to register civil partnerships on their premises.
"Straight couples have the choice between civil marriage and religious marriage. Gay couples are denied a similar choice. To deny people of faith the opportunity of registering the most important promise of their lives in their willing church or synagogue, according to its liturgy, is plainly discriminatory," they wrote.
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