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Will U.K. Parliament End Royal Ban on Marrying a Catholic?

Posted Jan 21, 2009 12:12 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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There are, undoubtedly, advantages to being the king or queen of England. But one disadvantage is that those who so desire can't marry a Catholic and retain the British throne. Under a 308-year-old United Kingdom law, the monarch not only must be Protestant but can't be married to a Catholic (and heirs, likewise, must avoid Catholics or lose their place in line).

One of those restrictions now could be on the path to becoming a relic of legal history, as a member of parliament plans to present a bill to modify the 1701 Act of Settlement to eliminate the restriction on marrying outside the Protestant faith, reports the BBC. Earlier efforts to eliminate both the restriction on marrying a Catholic and others, however, have so far been unsuccesful.

"It is wrong that anti-Catholic discrimination is written into the U.K.'s constitution," says Evan Harris, a Liberal Democrat lawmaker who is sponsoring the bill.

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