. LONDON — The British government is drafting plans to allow same-sex civil unions to be celebrated in churches and other places of worship, according to media reports.
Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat equalities minister, will soon outline plans to lift the current ban on civil partnerships being conducted in places of worship, The Telegraph reported.
Britain legalized gay civil partnerships six years ago but specified that partnership ceremonies have to be entirely secular and cannot contain any religious element.
As part of the new plan, the government may also propose scrapping the legal definition of marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman, allowing gay men and women to call their partners husbands or wives, the Sunday Times reported.
The Church of England has said it will not allow any of its buildings to be used for civil partnership ceremonies. But some faiths — including the Quakers, Unitarians and Liberal Jews — support the law change and will apply for their buildings to host same-sex ceremonies, The Telegraph said.
If passed into law the plan would bring Britain closer to countries such as the Netherlands and Canada where gays can legally marry, Reuters reported. .
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