URC votes to allow civil partnerships in churches
Published 12 July 2012
The United Reformed Church has voted to allow local churches to decide whether they want to allow civil partnerships to be registered in their buildings.
The change was outlined in a resolution passed by the URC’s General Assembly at the weekend and taking immediate effect.
“In taking this decision, the URC has become the first mainstream Christian denomination to allow same-sex partners to register their civil partnership in church,” the Church said in an Assembly briefing.
The resolution means that United Reformed churches across England and Wales will be free to allow the legal formalities as well as the religious ceremony to take place in their buildings.
Churches that do decide to take this step will need to ask their trustees to apply to the superintendent registrar of the local authority to become registered as an approved venue.
The Government passed a law last December allowing civil partnership ceremonies to be held in places of worship.
The Church of England has stated that it will not allow civil partnerships to take place in its churches, while leaders of the Roman Catholic Church have lambasted the Government over its policy on civil partnerships and gay marriage.
The URC joins the Quakers, Unitarians and Progressive Jewish Synagogues in embracing same-sex civil partnerships.
The URC General Assembly also saw the Church award community action projects. The 2012 Community Project Awards were co-sponsored by insurer Congregational & General and went to a youth centre in Bradford, an Edinburgh-based project supporting integration within the LGBT community, a community project in Sheffield, and project supporting families in Southampton.
The Church also asked the Mission Council to address the decline in adults between the ages of 20 and 40 attending URC churches.
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