Derek McAuley, Chief Officer of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, responding to the vote in the House of Lords last evening to proceed to the next stage of the legislative process said:

“Unitarians welcome the support given by an overwhelming majority to the Same Sex Marriage Bill in the House of Lords.

We have long argued for the equal validity of same sex relationships and looked forward to a time when we might recognise legally and celebrate them in our churches and chapels. It is a great joy that we are now a step closer to achieving this. I am confident that the legislation will be passed by Parliament over the next few months.

There are of course still battles ahead and there is no room for complacency. The attitudes of some of those opposing the Bill are to be regretted and there remains much work to do to ensure that the rights of gay and lesbian couples are protected.

We are pleased that the support for this legislation of a number of liberal religious bodies has ensured that this has not become a polarised debate between the secular and the religious worlds. We look forward to engaging in ongoing discussions with other faith groups on our interpretation of marriage in the spirit of ongoing learning”

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