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For Immediate Release: 19 April 2004

British Church Leader Condemns
Exclusion of Churches from UK Civil Partnership

BATH, ENGLAND -- Cecilia Eggleston, a leader of the gay-affirming
Metropolitan Community Churches in the UK, has condemned a portion of the
Civil Partnership Bill that would prohibit registrations from taking place in
Church setting.  The Partnership Bill was recently introduced into the House
of Lords,

The Bill would allow same sex couples to create registered Civil Partnerships
with many of the same rights and duties as marriage for heterosexual couples.
Under the Bill's provisions, the Registration must take place before a
Registrar, so long as it is not in a place of worship.

Eggleston was dismayed at this restriction.

bI welcome this long overdue reform. However, many same sex couples have a
faith that is important to them and they will want to ground their
covenant in their faith and their faith community," said Eggleston.

"We are asking that our clergy be authorized to officiate at Civil
Partnerships, as we can already do in marrying our heterosexual couples, but
this has
fallen on deaf ears," Eggleston noted. "To be denied the possibility of
the registrar present at Church is a slap in the face to lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender people of faith and an attack on our religious

Eggleston serves as a Regional Elder for Metropolitan Community Churches
(MCC), the world's oldest and largest Christian denomination with a primary,
affirming ministry to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. MCC
more than 43,000 members and adherents in 300 congregations located in 22
countries. According to Eggleston, "Internationally, MCC churches perform
than 6000 same-sex weddings and commitment ceremonies annually."

Eggleston added, "The Government appears to have accepted the flawed argument
of the religious right that you can't be gay and Christian.  We know that is
not the case and call on the Government to reverse this measure as the Bill
moves through Parliament.b

Metropolitan Community Churches around the UK are mounting a lobbying
campaign to amend the Bill's provisions as it goes through Parliament.



Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) is an international Christian
denomination founded in 1968 within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and
community.  Over 300 MCC congregations meet in 22 countries around the world,
including England and Scotland.  Media Information online at

The Civil Partnerships Bill was introduced into the House of Lords by the
Government on Wednesday 31 March 2004.	Full details of the Bill can be found
online at

Part 2 of the Bill relates to England & Wales.
Part 3 of the Bill relates to Scotland.
Part 4 of the Bill relates to Northern Ireland

Clause 6(1) for England and Clause 89 for Scotland expressly says
registration can't take place at a house of worship.

Metropolitan Community Churches conducts faith-based relationship commitment
services for thousands of same-sex couples around the world every year.  MCC
conducted one of the first public Christian services for a same-sex
35 years ago.

The MCC denomination supports marriage law reforms in many countries.  MCCbs
Toronto, Canada congregation initiated the litigation that resulted in the
Ontario Supreme Court opening marriage to same-sex couples. And MCC's Founder
Moderator, The Reverend Dr. Troy D. Perry, has filed court litigation in the
United States seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriages in the U.S.

For Additional Information, Contact:

UK Media enquiries to Stephen Harte on 07880 556918

US Media enquiries to Jim Birkitt on 310- 360- 8640.

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