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Bromley Reviews Gay Ban

June 30, 2005 1:04 AM

After a threat of legal action and plans for a protest march, Bromley council has announced it will "review its position" in regards to the provision of civil ceremonies for gay couples.

"Bromley Council is satisfied its policy for the provision of civil ceremonies is lawful but it will nevertheless review its position in the light of guidance from the Department of Trade and Industry," a spokesman said.

"Bromley Council is committed to treating all of its residents with respect and recognises the contribution made to the community by all individuals."

Last week the Mayor of London announced that he was considering taking legal action over the council's decision and urged them to rethink its policy relating to gay couples.

Whilst gay couples will be able to register their relationships when the Civil Partnership Acts comes into force on 5 December, they will not be able to have a ceremony if they wish to.

DELGA Chair, Richard Porter said: "It is astounding in this day and age that a London council should be so mean as to deny gay couples such a ceremony."

"If the press comments attributed to the Bromley councillors by the local media are correct, I would say that this decision is clearly based on bigotry towards both lesbians and gay men,"

The Department of Trade and Industry has issued guidance on civil partnerships encouraging gay couples to hold ceremonies as part of their registrations.

Earlier this month Bromley councillors described civil partnerships as "immoral" and that same-sex couples "shouldn't be seen as equal."

"Gay marriages are immoral and undermine family values in society," Conservative Councillor Colin Bloom told the News Shopper paper.

Fellow Conservative Councillor Stephen Carr told the paper that, "They shouldn't be seen as equal. Gay marriage undermines our society."

He has since said, "I have nothing against same-sex couples but it's wrong to compare it to marriage between a man and a woman."

The council's formal decision is expected before the end of October, although a protest march is planned for 30 July demanding the council put a stop to homophobic discrimination.