Bercow hopes for Westminster civil partnerships before May
Speaker John Bercow said today that he hopes civil partnerships for gay MPs will be held in parliament in the next few months.
According to Bloomberg, he told journalists at a lunch: “I’m optimistic that the first full civil partnership ceremony will take place on the parliamentary estate before May.”
In November, the Speaker’s Committee began looking at the possibility of allowing civil partnerships to be held in parliament in the same way that marriages for straight couples are.
MPs, peers and their children are allowed to use parliament buildings for their ceremonies.
Prime minister Gordon Brown backed the move, while gay MP and Europe minister Chris Bryant expressed his wish to hold his civil partnership on parliament’s grounds. He became engaged to partner Jared Cranney last autumn.
The Church of England does not recognise civil partnerships as marriages, so they cannot be held in the Chapel of St Mary in parliament. However, they can be held in other areas, such as the chapel in Westminster Hall.
Bercow is currently trying to obtain a licence to allow the ceremonies.
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