January 20, 2010
Reform of Royal Marriage Rules on the Horizon?
Rules governing royal marriages and the succession to the throne of the UK breach the European Convention on Human Rights, an influential parliamentary committee has said.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) said that laws barring members of the Royal Family from marrying Roman Catholics were contrary to the Convention, while the rule that male heirs take precedence over older sisters in the succession was "arguably" also a breach.
The cross-party committee of MPs and peers urged the Government to adopt proposals put forward by Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris to remove religious discrimination against Catholics in relation to royal marriages, and discrimination against women in relation to the succession.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown last year indicated sympathy with calls for reform, telling the House of Commons that "most people recognise the need for change" in the regime put in place by the 1701 Act of Settlement.
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