Britain must amend laws that discriminate based on religion and gender, prime minister says

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 23 2013 1:35 p.m. MST

Britain's Prince William stands next to his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge as she leaves the King Edward VII hospital in central London, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. Prince William and his wife Kate are expecting their first child, and the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted to hospital suffering from a severe form of morning sickness in the early stages of her pregnancy.

Alastair Grant, Associated Press

Our take: Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg presented a bill to parlament to allow the future king or queen of England to marry a Catholic. Although the bill has widespread support, there have been concerns about how children from the union would be raise, given British monarchs also serve as Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Britain must change its laws to allow a future king or queen to marry a Catholic despite "old prejudices and old fears" that this might imperil ties between the monarchy and the Church of England, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said on Tuesday.

Presenting a bill to parliament that would end 300-year-old laws that ban future monarchs from marrying Catholics, he said the rules were from a "bygone era."

The amendments would also end the primacy of male heirs to the British throne, meaning that the claim to the throne of the first child of Prince William and his pregnant wife Kate Middleton, if a girl, would not be usurped by younger brothers.

Today we do not support laws which discriminate on either religious or gender grounds. They have no place in modern Britain, and certainly not in our monarchy, said Clegg, during the second reading of the bill to amend succession.

Read more about Britain must solve 'Catholic question' to amend royal rules on Reuters.

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