Briefly: Europe

BRITAIN

Homosexual couples might wed in churches

LONDON | The British government said Sunday it is planning to change the marriage law and allow gay couples to have civil partnership ceremonies in places of worship.

“The government is currently considering what the next stage should be for civil partnerships, including how some religious organizations can allow same-sex couples to register their relationship in a religious setting if they wish to do so,” a Home Office spokesman said.

“Ministers have met a range of people and organizations to hear their views on this issue. An announcement will be made in due course.”

The Sunday Telegraph newspaper said such ceremonies could be permitted to include religious elements for the first time.

The proposed marriage law reforms could also end the legal definition of marriage as pertaining only to a man and a woman.

The Church of England has already said it will not allow any of its buildings to be used for civil partnership ceremonies.

IRELAND

Opposition party moves ahead in poll

DUBLIN | Support for Ireland’s main opposition party Fine Gael is surging, and it may be able to form a single-party government after the Feb. 25 election, according to an opinion poll on Sunday.

The Sunday Business Post/Red C poll shows a jump in support for the center-right Fine Gael party compared to a week ago, while the other main parties have dropped back.

Fine Gael gained three points to 38 percent. The center-left Labor is at 20 percent, down two points.

Fianna Fail, the main party in the current ruling coalition, also shed two points to 15 percent.

Prime Minister Brian Cowen called elections on Feb. 1, with his coalition expected to be the first government to be ousted as a result of the eurozone debt crisis.

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