From The Guardian
A government go-ahead for plans for gay marriage is likely before Christmas, but Downing Street was reluctant to confirm reports that the vote in the Commons would be fast tracked and pushed through within a month.
It is likely the vote will be regarded as a conscience issue so ensuring there is a free vote that will see supporters of gay marriage win comfortably.
Some ministers believe it is a good idea to deal with the issue quickly rather than leave it as a running sore for many months, with opponents of gay marriage trying to build up momentum.
There is also a belief that with Christian evangelicals on the back foot over the vote on the ordination of women bishops it may be the right time to show they may have over-played their hand, and are in the minority in terms of public opinion.
The government has repeatedly stressed that the church will not be required to administer marriages stating “no religious organisation will be forced to conduct same-sex religious marriages as a result of these proposals”.
There is bound to be scare-mongering by the likes of Christian Concern over the next few weeks. I hope the Methodist Church will have the courage to lobby the government to make any new legislation sufficiently permissive that churches which choose to can celebrate gay marriages.
And let’s have a debate at next year’s Conference so that Methodist churches can offer services of gay marriage (and the blessing of civil partnerships).