gay marriageA local council in the U.K. has been forced to apologize after issuing a letter that incorrectly demanded churches be licensed to perform same-sex marriages. Essex County Council wrote to all churches in the county registered as wedding venues telling them that with “immediate effect” they “must” be licensed to “conduct same sex marriages.” The words immediate and same were bold and underlined, with the latter also capitalized. Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute says the council’s letter shows the need for churches to know their legal rights. He says, “There is no legal reason whatsoever for churches to stop holding marriages in the ways they always have. They are free to do so.” More