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Eye on the small print

    Even if gay marriages are introduced in the UK, there is little likelihood that traditional religious groups will be compelled to consecrate them in opposition to their deeply held beliefs.

    But any legislation might have practical consequences for an Orth-odox synagogue. What would happen if a gay or lesbian couple – who were married elsewhere – wanted to join the United Synagogue as a couple, paying a single household rate rather than two individuals? or reserve a burial plot next to each other?

    According to the US, marriage has to be defined in terms of Jewish law and therefore a same-sex couple could not be recognised as married members. This, however, would have "no bearing" on burial, since "any two members may make a reservation to be buried in adjacent plots".

    Religious groups will have to keep a close eye on the wording of any law to ensure that it does not give clever equality lawyers grounds to challenge them.

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