Pendle religious groups fight same-sex marriage plans

Mosques and churches meet at Brierfield People's Centre to discuss issues over gay marriage.'Photo Ben Parsons
Mosques and churches meet at Brierfield People's Centre to discuss issues over gay marriage.'Photo Ben Parsons

Religious organisations across Pendle – both Christians and Muslims – have joined forces to persuade Parliament to drop the idea of agreeing a gay and lesbian Marriages Bill.

The campaign was initially established by Burnley and Pendle Friends League, which invited people from both religions to its meetings. Its chairman Mr Saghir Ahmed said: “The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is an impact on faith communities. We want to oppose it because we don’t believe in it.

“There is going to be a petition we create signed by faith leaders and Bible believers and will go to MPs and Lords. It is faith leaders from Burnley and Pendle, but mainly Pendle.”

He added: “We will oppose it all along and our struggle goes on against the proposals. We don’t believe in it. I have spoken to our beloved MP Andrew Stephenson and Lord Greaves about it. Lord Greaves wasn’t fully aware of it but Andrew said he we was supporting it. It’s not just a faith matter – it’s a matter of humanity.”

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “The Second Reading of the Bill, which places no obligations on any church or mosque to conduct such services, passed the House of Commons by 400 to 175, a majority of 225, on February 5th. The Third Reading of the Bill, passed the House of Commons by 366 to 161, a majority of 205, on May 21st. On Tuesday the House of Lords, in their first vote on this topic passed the measure by 390 to 148, a majority of 242.

“Whilst many people of faith have reservations about the Bill, I as a Christian voted for it and of the eight Muslim MPs only one – a Conservative MP – voted against.”

And Pendle’s Lord Greaves, who was in Lords for the vote on Tuesday, said: “It looks like the Bill is going to be passed. It’s also very clear a big majority of people in this country want it passed. It’s rather unexpected for people of my generation and people in religion don’t want to be involved.”