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Leeds MP calls for ‘proper separation’ of civil and religious marriage

Civil and religious marriage should be completely separate, a Liberal Democrat politician has claimed.

Greg Mulholland, the party’s MP for Leeds North West, has put forward amendments to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill which would significantly change the institution of marriage and could remove the traditional role of the Church of England.

According to a report in the Evening Standard, his proposals include the repeal of both the Marriage Act 1949 and the Civil Partnership Act 2004, , as well as a ban on religious elements during civil marriage ceremonies. The changes are likely to be vigorously opposed by fellow MPs.

Mulholland said:

“The Marriage Bill neither delivers equal marriage nor adequately protects freedom of conscience. The way to deliver both is a proper separation of civil and religious marriage, so it is clear that civil recognition of relationships is a matter for the state, defined in law, and this should be the same for all couples, but at the same time then allowing belief-based organisations to marry whoever they want according to what they believe marriage to mean.”

He concluded:

“This is the liberal and the fair approach, but also the commonsensical one that would deliver equality and tolerance and would avoid some of the pitfalls of the [Marriage] Bill as drafted.”

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was published in January and is expected to receive a third reading in the House of Commons in the near future.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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