Manchester Cross Street Chapel gains civil partnership licence

Cross Street Chapel
Image caption Cross Street Unitarian Chapel will allow gay couples to hold religious and civil ceremonies

A chapel in Manchester has been awarded a licence to hold civil partnerships.

Cross Street Unitarian Chapel has been awarded the licence which will allow same-sex couples to hold religious and civil ceremonies in the building.

Rev Jane Barraclough, minister of Cross Street Chapel, said offering the service fulfilled "a basic human right".

A new law allowing civil partnership ceremonies to be conducted in places of worship came into effect in December.

Rev Barraclough said: "We note with sadness the history of homophobia in many faith traditions as well as the current hateful language from some faith leaders that has received so much coverage in the media.

"But this is a time of great celebration for us, not sadness."

A Home Office spokesperson said it is the first time a council has contacted the General Register Office to say it has granted a civil partnership licence to a place of worship.

The Unitarian Church is not part of the Church of England and has a number of openly gay ministers.

In 1977, it was formally resolved that the Unitarian ministry be open to all, regardless of sex, race, colour or sexual orientation.

The Church of England has said it will not allow its churches to be used for civil partnership ceremonies unless the full general synod gives its consent.

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