Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Brighton church opens to civil partnerships
The first church in Brighton and Hove has flung open its doors to civil partnerships – with more expected to come.
Brighton Unitarian Church in New Road, Brighton, is the first religious venue in the city to receive permission to conduct the services.
With Brighton and Hove one of the most popular places in the county for civil ceremonies, equality campaigners welcomed the move, adding they expect other venues will follow.
Church Minister Jef Jones said: “I’m chuffed. We’ve been offering same-sex partnership blessings for years, and I’m glad that we’ve taken the next step because it’s very important to many people in this city.”
Plans to allow religious buildings to host civil ceremonies were announced by ministers in February 2011. But the legislation was only implemented in December after public consultation.
Gay marriage is still illegal although a bill currently passing through Parliament was supported by a majority of MPs earlier this month.
A spokesman for Brighton Unitarian Church said: “Several Unitarian Churches around the country have been licensed for civil partnerships.
“The first place of worship in the country to be licensed was Cross Street Chapel in Manchester, where our friend and former member Reverend Jane Barraclough is the minister.”
The Unitarian Church is traditionally a far more liberal Christian tradition than the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.
It proclaims to be an open community celebrating diverse beliefs that does not discriminate.
'It will become more normal'
Keith Sharpe, of Changing Attitude Sussex, which campaigns for equality in the church, said: “I think they will be followed by others.
“The Quakers and some liberal Jewish synagogues will but it will be some time before the Church of England does.
“I think the more religious venues do this then it will become more normal and that will put pressure on others to take the same action.”
Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of the city council’s economic development and culture committee, said: “This is fantastic news and definitely a step in the right direction.”
If you are interested in holding a civil partnership at Brighton Unitarian Church, call 01273 696022 or visit www.brightonunitarian.org.uk.
See the latest news headlines from The Argus:
- Albion admit investigation launched into Palace dressing room incident
- MS sufferer to take on 101 miles along South Downs on a scooter
- Crawley security firm at centre of Government inquiry
- Brighton cinema plans put on hold
- Brighton house fire rescue hampered by poor parking