The congregation headed by an atheist minster and is also the oldest non-conformist church in England celebrates the milestone for equal marriage in the UK as it gets passed in the British House of Commons.
The Unitarian congregation has been great promoter of equal marriage rights. Rev. Andrew Pakula who serves as the minister of both Newington Green Unitarian Church and New Unity Church in Islington’s Upper Street said: “This congregation pledged we wouldn’t do any straight marriages until we could do the equivalent for same-sex couples.” This refusal of the Church to do any legal weddings in 2008 was its way of making a stance and pointing out the discriminating aspects of the previous laws on marriages and civil partnership against gays and lesbians. Rev. Pakula added: “We only do the thing that we could do for both which is to do a blessing. A wedding blessing or partnership blessing – we do that. But we don’t any of the legal stuff.”
But after 400 MPs favoured the legalisation of gay marriages with an overwhelming majority against the 175 who voted against it, this means that the suspension of any weddings within the Church can now be lifted. This is a great outcome of the campaign movement the Unitarian churches previously participated in.
For future campaigns, as a congregation that emphasise on open-mindedness and promotes equality, Rev. Pakula said that “We are actually looking at what we are going do next and I think we are most focus on the harm caused by income inequality.” He described it to be a huge and growing problem and believes that it should be tackled urgently.