A Labour MP has submitted a proposal for a Westminster chapel to conduct same-sex marriages.
According to The Telegraph, Labour MP and gay marriage supporter Chris Bryant introduced the idea that the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft be turned into ‘multi-faith prayer room’, which would open the door for ministers belonging to religious denominations such as Quakers and Liberal Jews to conduct same-sex marriages.
Even with the current same-sex marriage legislation passing through Parliament, the chapel as part of the Church of England is exempt from needing to offer same-sex ceremonies.
In response to Bryant’s proposal, equalities minister Helen Grant has asked officials in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to examine the issue. Bryant has also reportedly received support from John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons to whom Bryant sent a separate letter.
Bryant said: ‘St. Mary Undercroft has been many things in its time. It is a bit odd that we have no place for people of other faiths to worship’.
‘If we have got over this hurdle with Catholic masses being celebrated there it seems odd not to allow services of other denominations to be held there’.
Commons chaplain Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin has questioned Bryant’s proposal saying: ‘The query that Mr Bryant has put through is complex and we can’t just send out a response to say this is what it is going to be’.
‘When I go to a country of another religion I don’t say to them “you have got to fit that to my requests because I am in your country”. I simply would not expect them to say, “well this is a mosque but let’s make it into something else”. We respect other faiths and we make provisions and that is what we have done’.