Muslim Leaders in UK Demand Exemption From Performing Gay Marriages
Islamic leaders are calling Great Britain's same-sex marriage legislation "discriminatory," as the government has proposed exempting the Church of England and the Church in Wales from performing such unions, while neglecting to provide the same exemption to other religious institutions equally opposed to gay marriage.
"No one in their right mind should accept such a discriminatory law," the Muslim Council of Britain's secretary-general Farooq Murad said in a statement Tuesday, as reported by BBC News.
"It should be amended to give exactly the same exemption to all the religions," Farooq said, adding that his organization, which represents 500 mosques and community groups, strongly opposes these recent proposals.
British Conservative Party politician Maria Miller introduced a set of measures to the House of Commons last week to ensure religious groups in the country would not have to perform same-sex marriages against their will.
Miller's proposals included amending the Equality Act 2010 so that no discrimination complaint may be brought against a religious institution which refused to wed same-sex couples.
Additionally, the proposals exempt the Church of England and the Church in Wales from performing same-sex marriages.
According to The Daily Mail, Miller exempted these churches because they were a "special case," as their Canon laws require vicars to marry couples regardless of denomination.
Miller gave other religious groups the opportunity to "opt in" to perform same-sex marriages if they wish, but to religious leaders such as Murad, the option is not enough; they want the exemption equal to that of the Church of England's.
"We find it incredible that while introducing the Bill in the House, Mrs. Miller could keep a straight face when offering exemption for the established Church while in the same breath claiming 'fairness to be at the heart' of her proposals," Murad told the Daily Mail.
Murad added that he is currently seeking an urgent meeting with Miller to encourage her to add other religions to the "exempt" list of the same-sex marriage proposals.
Prime Minister David Cameron has heavily pushed to legalize same-sex marriage in Great Britain, to the chagrin of religious leaders and other members of his Conservative Party.
Same-sex marriage is reportedly to be legalized in Great Britain as early as 2014.