From THE MAIL:
Gay couples will be able to marry in church after the House of Lords last night lifted a ban on same sex unions in religious premises. The vote wipes out one of the final distinctions between marriage and civil partnerships.
The amendment to the Equality Bill does not force churches to accept civil partnership ceremonies. But it lifts the barrier that had been in place preventing homosexual blessings in churches and also the prohibition on religious language being used in such ceremonies.
The Church of England will maintain its official opposition to blessings and civil partnerships but the vote is likely to mean that some pro-gay clergy simply ignore the official policy.
Lord Alli denied that his amendment was ‘an attack’ on the Church of England or the Catholic Church. He said: ‘Religious freedom cannot begin and end with what one religion wants."
The former Bishop of Oxford Lord Harries denied the amendment would undermine marriage. He said: ‘It actually strengthens marriage. The real enemy in our society is promiscuity, not permanent faith-based relationships.’
But the Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Rev David James, who voted against the change warned of "unintended consequences".
The amendment has still to be agreed by the Commons but neither of the main parties is likely to overturn the Lords decision, since it was offered as a free vote.
COMMENT: This is a huge victory for justice and equality. Inclusive minded Church of England priests will now start quietly conducting wedding ceremonies for same sex couples (and, yes, they will be real marriages) as they have the backing of English law and an established church is subject to the law of the land in a very organic way (you see, there are some advantages!). There is no way this gay genii will be pushed back into the bottle. Well done, Your Lordship. Well done everybody!