The Government are consulting on allowing religious bodies to hold homosexual civil partnerships. I am very uncomfortable about this.
The Government insists that their proposals would not compel ministers to allow civil partnerships in their churches. I find that difficult to believe. It was in 2005 that homosexual adoption was made legal, yet within three years it became coercive and religious adoption agencies were ordered to change their beliefs or close. They closed.
It seems odd timing to me. This consultation is at a time when the number of civil partnerships being registered annually has fallen and dissolutions have almost doubled, according to official figures.
The Government’s original prediction of 62,000 civil partnerships being formed in the first five years was wildly exaggerated. In 2007 there were only 8,728 civil partnerships, a 46 per cent reduction from 2006 when even then it was only 16,106 registrations, a far cry from the 62,000!
This consultation has to be seen in the context of Section 202 of the Equality Act that was rushed through just before the last general election. The voting took place at 11:00pm when most peers were unaware the vote was happening. There is a great deal of pushing from activists behind this.
I expect that if religious bodies are allowed to hold homosexual civil partnerships, it will quickly become an enforced duty on behalf of religious bodies.
There are two main areas of concern regarding this scheme:
1 Can it prevent litigation against clergy who don’t agree with civil partnerships?
2 Can it prevent clergy who agree with civil partnerships going ahead in defiance of their denominations?