UK government flies gay pride flag

2012-07-06 18:01

London - The British government on Friday hoisted the rainbow flag symbolising gay pride over one of its ministries for the first time.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg requested the flag be flown on Whitehall, the central London street that houses several ministries, ahead of the World Pride parade celebrating gay rights in the British capital on Saturday.

"There has to be a first time for everything," said Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrat party.

"Flying this iconic flag in the heart of Whitehall is a small but important emblem that the government and this country are behind equal rights," added Clegg, whose centrist party is junior partner in a coalition led by the centre-right Conservatives.

The striped rainbow flag was raised over the Cabinet Office, the ministry responsible for co-ordinating central government.

Ministers have pledged to legalise gay marriage in England and Wales by 2015 despite opposition from some Conservatives and religious figures.

Question of validity

Clegg has gone further by saying religious venues such as churches should be able to host gay weddings.

Homosexual couples in Britain have been able to obtain civil partnerships, giving them similar legal rights to heterosexual married couples, since 2004.

But gay couples cannot hold religious wedding ceremonies and campaigners say that having civil partnerships rather than gay marriages perpetuates the idea that same-sex unions are less valid than heterosexual ones.

The Church of England and Roman Catholic Church have staunchly opposed the changes, fearing they could eventually be forced to preside over gay weddings.

The government has pledged to introduce safeguards to prevent religious groups from having to act against their conscience.

  • kathleen.whiteley.7 - 2012-07-06 19:01

    In South Africa, clergy are given a choice of applying for three marriage licences - one for normal heterosexual marriages, one for traditional Black unions and/or one for homosexual marriages. The conscientious clergy can then decide whether to stick to the belief in the Bible that homosexuality is a sin, or not to have a conscience on this matter and marry same-sex couples. To compel Anglican and Roman Catholic churches to carry out same-sex marriages is to show disrespect to the leaders of the churches.

      Phoenix - 2012-07-06 19:21

      Similarly wanting to allow blacks into the church in the eighties and seventies was also 'disrespect to the leaders of the church'?

      Tommo - 2012-07-07 02:59

      It's not a belief in the bible it's a belief in the church my dear. A big difference. The bible mentions the subject and a lot more relating to women. Such as always covering your head. And keeping silent in church. And why is it these versus can quietly be ignored? This is about prejudice nothing more nothing less.

      Wendy - 2012-07-07 07:09

      Phoenix, you need to be more specific. You are referring to the Dutch Reformed Church. Many of us, even those born in the 1950's, grew up in multiracial churches.

      Phoenix - 2012-07-07 08:50

      Siva the dutch reformed church and sister churches supported apartheid via text in the Bible... Conveniently twisted go suit their cause. I see no difference with the churches attempt to deny gay pople universal human rights.

  • hendrikvs - 2012-07-06 20:09

    At last the countries of the world are waking up and becoming a smarter place to live. Congrats to the Poms!

  • Irene - 2012-07-07 03:01

    Well done Britain!

  • SarcasticAgnostic - 2012-07-07 08:17

    What self respecting gay would want to marry in the same church that call them immoral? That just isn't appropriate. It's like the ex-boyfriend going to a girls wedding.

      janalbert.vandenberg - 2012-07-07 17:03

      LOL Mr!

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