We have a few updates on the push for marriage equality in England and Wales. According to Queerty, the government has finally published the text of the marriage equality bill:
Put forward by PM David Cameron’s Conservative Party, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill grants marriage rights to gay couples, but precludes religious groups–most notably the Church of England–from having to perform same-sex ceremonies.
“We feel that marriage is a good thing and we should be supporting more couples to marry and that is exactly what the proposals being brought forward today do,” Equalities Minister Maria Miller told BBC Radio. “The values of marriage bind families and communities together and bring stability. I believe that couples should not be excluded from marriage just because they love someone of the same sex.”
The UK marriage equality bill includes a religious exemption:
The Church of England has a legal obligation to marry its parishioners, but Miller said that “to protect them from legal challenge… the bill makes clear that this duty does not extend to same-sex couples.”
Meanwhile, over at Pink News, they’re reporting that the introdiction of marriage equality in England and Wales is likely to cost a lot (but not as much as many claimed):
The Government has said that the costs of introducing same-sex marriage in England and Wales will cost between #3.3m and #4.7m.
The assessment, promised by the Government during the consultation process, is not as large a figure as some opponents of equal marriage had claimed introducing equality would cost.
We’ll be watching this closely as the vote approaches on February 5th.