Andrew Turner, the Island’s MP, welcomes the Government’s promise not to force faith groups into providing civil partnerships in religious settings. However, Mr Turner does not believe that the current wording of Section 202 of the Equality Act 2010 gives enough protection for faith groups.
Section 202 currently states ‘For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in this Act places an obligation on religious organisations to host civil partnerships if they do not wish to do so.’
Mr Turner said, “It would be morally reprehensible to force any faith group to host a ceremony contrary to their deeply held beliefs. I therefore welcome the Government’s view that any change in the law will be an optional decision for individual faith groups. However, I do not believe that the current wording of Section 202 goes far enough to protecting faith groups. I believe that there should be no way for an individual or group to challenge this policy in court. I will therefore work to revise Section 202 so that it explicitly states that there will be no right to reconsider this policy in any court once the Act comes into force. This will assure faith groups that there is no potential to force them to host civil partnerships in the future.”
Mr Turner strongly encourages those who both support and oppose this change to make their views known through the consultation paper which can be found on the Government Equalities Office website, www.equalities.gov.uk.