frgavin on February 18th, 2011

By Tim Ross, Telegraph

Ministers are preparing to scrap the centuries-old legal definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman to promote equal rights for homosexual couples.

If introduced, the reform would give Britain some of the most advanced gay equality laws in the world.

The proposal comes as the government confirms that it will change the law to allow same-sex civil partnership ceremonies to be held in churches, synagogues and other religious settings for the first time.

The first religious services for civil partners could take place later this year.

Campaigners for equal rights for homosexuals welcomed the reforms but the Church of England warned it would not bless same sex couples.

The Liberal Democrat Minister for Equalities, Lynne Featherstone, said: “Over the past few months I’ve spoken to a lot of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB and T) people and campaign groups, and it quickly became clear that there is a real desire to address the differences between civil marriage and civil partnerships.

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