As the Church of England expresses its concerns about the possibility of having to marry same-sex couples, Colin Coward, a gay rights campaigner who is in a civil partnership with his gay partner, explains why he wishes that he could have been married in church.

The Church of England has voiced fears that the Government’s pledge not to force religious groups to perform same-sex marriages in their bill to introduce gay marriage would not withstand a challenge in Parliament or the courts.
Colin Coward, a gay rights campaigner and director of Changing Attitude, who is in a civil partnership with his male partner, explains why it is important for him to be able to be married in church.

“I wish that we could have had a service in church with all our friends in the congregation joining us and to have had truly received God’s blessing on our union,” Mr Coward said.

He added: “The church sadly has enormous lessons to learn and it worries and surprises me that bishops in this country still can’t understand how critical it is they make positive and affirmative statements about the place of lesbian and gay people in the church.”
Meanwhile, senior aides to David Cameron have said that same-sex marriages should take place in churches, despite repeated Government pledges that religious groups would be exempt.

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