MP fears Blake’s Jerusalem will only be sung ‘at gay weddings’
The song beloved of English people everywhere, Jerusalem, is in danger of being “reserved for homosexuals”, MPs have heard.
Labour MP Chris Bryant suggested heterosexual couples are being discriminated against because many churches refuse to allow them to sing the song at their weddings because it is “not a hymn addressed to God”.
Even if a heterosexual couple were to opt for a civil service, they would still not be able to sing it because of its religious references.
Ironically, under government plans to allow civil partnership ceremonies to include a “religious aspect”, gay couples would be able to sing it.
Asking Sir George Young, the Leader of the Commons, to investigate, Mr Bryant said: “Can we just make sure that Jerusalem is not just reserved for homosexuals?”
Sir George replied: “I think that Jerusalem should be sung on every possible occasion.”
The William Blake poem was set to music in 1916 by Sir Hubert Parry and remains a favourite hymn of the English, performed most recently at the royal wedding last month.
The song is the official anthem of the England football team and passionate renditions can also be heard at many rugby fixtures.
The Church of England issued guidance to vicars last year encouraging them to allow the hymn to be sung at marriage services.
Mr Bryant, the openly gay former Foreign Office Minister, told the Daily Mail that he was “fighting for the rights of straight couples”.
“The Government is now changing the rules to allow religious symbols at civil ceremonies for same sex couples,” he said.
“But in the interests of equality, the same should apply to heterosexual couples getting married in civil venues.
“It seems odd to say you can’t have Jerusalem for a straight wedding yet you can have it at the same place for a gay wedding.”