The Equalities Office (based within the Home Office) made international waves with a landmark announcement this week – yes, sons and daughters will have equal right to the throne. It’s curious what amounts to modernisation at times. US networks – thrilled at the opportunity to show more Will and Kate footage – gave these tory prominence and looking at the Equalities Office press release pages you might think it’s the only thing they’ve done this week. It’s not.
Pink News reported that the government has confirmed religious premises will, from the end of 2011, be able to seek approval as venues for civil partnerships. The government doesn’t need to pass a law to do this -despite the original Civil Partnership Act 2004 excluding religious premises as sites for civil partnerships. Instead, the government will ‘activate’ through a regulation, section 202 of the Equality Act 2010. It does not of course mean that religious organisations must offer their premises for such ceremonies but it means that they can – enabling groups such s the Quakers to begin offering these ceremonies.
The move creates a further layer of complexity to the marriage/civil partnership divide – a divide which the government may well sweep aside next year – and it will be interesting to see how this latest move evolves.