September 2 2014 Latest news:
Mark Shales, Reporter
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
The legalisation of same-sex marriage was met with a distinct lack of chiming bells in Newham, with no gay weddings reported across the borough.
The law officially came in to place at midnight last Saturday with couples up and down the country tying the knot soon after.
But the earliest same-sex ceremony in Newham registry office will not take place until June.
Jack Gilbert, chair of local Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) group Rainbow Hamlets, was disappointed by the lack of confetti in the borough.
“It is a shame there were no lesbian or gay weddings in Newham last weekend,” he said.
“In the past Newham was associated with LGBT life, but with all the changes in the borough in recent years, and despite more and more LGBT coming to live and work in the borough, there actually seems less options locally.
“We have approached Newham Council to see if we can work together to change that.”
Although the law to allow same-sex marriage was passed in July 2013, huge division still remains on the subject particularly within religion.
Under the legislation, religious organisations have to ‘opt in’ to offering wedding services, with the Church of England and Church in Wales prohibited in law from doing so.
Former Newham councillor and ex-leader of the Christian Alliance Party Alan Craig said: “Gay marriages are a counterfeit as, according to the government and unlike real marriages, gay marriages cannot be consummated and therefore adultery cannot be reason for divorce.
“Partners are free to play the field in a gay marriage whereas husbands and wives promise to be faithful ‘til death us do part’ in a real marriage.”
He added: “By firmly bolting a counterfeit on to the hallowed institution of marriage, an invaluable social institution has been diluted, distorted and, in the end, dismantled.
“And it is the nation’s children, who need stability and commitment at home to flourish, who will suffer.”