By Jennifer Lipman
October 28, 2011
It looks as though, finally, the UK's archaic laws on royal succession are to be scrapped. The 16 Commonwealth heads have agreed to change the law so that male and female heirs to the throne are treated equally.
David Cameron says he will put it to parliament at the next session, when, one hopes, even the crustiest and most conservative members will accept it.
The constitutional reform would also remove the ban on the spouse of a Catholic from taking the throne (a ban that was only in place for Catholics). Under the current system, had Kate Middleton been Catholic, Prince William would effectively have had to forfeit his right to the throne in order to marry her.
It's an outrageous example of discrimination, yet one deeply embedded in the UK's constitutional makeup. In 2011, there is simply no excuse for that kind of religious inequality (likewise that kind of gender inequality).
As a minority religious community – one that, like the Catholic community in this country, has faced considerable persecution at times in history - we should welcome this as another step in the right direction for the UK.
Although it's not over yet. As the Telegraph explains: "A separate rule that the Sovereign must be a Protestant will not be changed because the monarch is Supreme Governor of the Church of England."
So while our royals are free to marry Jews, Hindus, Muslims or Catholics, any kids they have will have to adopt the faith of the royal parent. Could this lead to a situation where we have a monarch who is halachically Jewish, but is forced to renounce their birth-given faith in order to accede to the throne?