Northern Ireland government u-turn after telling churches they could lose rights to host weddings under new gay marriage rules

Jul 27, 2020 by

By Marcus Jones, Premier:

Authorities in Northern Ireland have backtracked after telling churches across Northern Ireland that they could lose their right to hold wedding ceremonies under new laws brought in over gay marriage.

A letter was sent to places of worship following changes to the law which will allow same sex unions from September.

The letter informed churches that they need to let the General Register Office (GRO) for Northern Ireland know whether they are open to hosting same sex ceremonies.

They were told ff they didn’t respond by 17th August, they will lose the right to host any weddings – gay or straight.

“If we do not receive any response by this date,” the letter stated. “It will be assumed that you and other members of the church no longer wish to be registered as officiants for any type of marriage…

…Following criticism of the letter, it was later withdrawn. In a statement, the GRO said: “We apologise for this. We will be issuing an updated letter to all religious bodies to clarify that all religious officiants on the Registrar General’s current register are regarded as opted out of performing same sex marriages.

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