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Cut and pasted from the DCMS Website:
Government sets out plan for equal marriage
Same-sex couples in England and Wales will be allowed to marry.
Minister for Women and Equalities Maria Miller announced on Tuesday 11 December that legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies will be brought forward next year.
The historic move will also contain protections for religious organisations that do not want to conduct same-sex marriages through a ‘quadruple lock’ of measures in domestic legislation, but will also allow them to ‘opt in’ to carry out same-sex marriages if they choose.
Equality for all
“Marriage is one of the most important institutions we have in this country,” said Mrs Miller.
“It binds us together, brings long-term commitment and stability, and makes society stronger. Our proposals mean that marriage would be available to everyone. I feel strongly that, if a couple wish to show their love and commitment to each other, the State should not stand in their way.”
Mrs Miller also made clear “that no religious organisation will ever be forced to conduct marriages for same-sex couples, and I would not bring in a bill which allowed that. European law already puts religious freedom beyond doubt, and we will go even further by bringing in an additional ‘quadruple legal lock’. But, it is also a key aspect of religious freedom that those bodies who want to opt-in should be able to do so.”
The 13 week consultation received a record 228,000 responses with 53 per cent of people responding to the consultation favouring the introduction of equal marriage.
You can find the full press release here:
You can find the full story here:
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All of this is BRILLIANT news but there are two key obstacles remaining to full equality:
- The Church of England, the established Church, should NOT be exempt and should not be banned from conducting same-sex marriages; and
- Civil Partnerships should be open and available to all, gay and straight.
Cut and pasted from the Peter Tatchell Foundation Website:
Gay Marriage: Anglican exemption open to legal challenge
Ban on heterosexual civil partnerships to remain. Gay couples will have legal advantage under Cameron plan
“The government’s commitment to allow most religious organisations to conduct same-sex marriages - but not the Church of England and the Church in Wales - is a disappointing fudge that perpetuates inequality. Denying these churches the right to opt in and host same-sex marriages undermines gay equality and religious freedom,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
“Exempting the official established church sends the wrong signal. There is no reason why these churches should be treated differently from other faiths.
“This faith-based discrimination could be open to legal challenge. The government is treating two churches differently from all other religions. Discriminating between faith groups is probably illegal under the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.
“It is very foolish of the government to appear to be caving in to the demands of intolerant religious lobbyists by making it illegal for the Church of England and Church in Wales to conduct religious same-sex marriages, even if they want to do so.
“These exemptions undermine the praise the government deserves for sticking to its pledge to legalise same-sex marriage. The commitment to marriage equality is commendable
“Permitting same-sex couples with civil partnerships to convert them into civil marriages is a positive move.
“Retaining the ban on opposite-sex civil partnerships is a huge failing. It deprives heterosexual couples of legal equality. I strongly support the right of straight people to equal treatment.
“Under the government’s plans, gay couples will soon have legal privileges over heterosexual couples.
“There will be two forms of official state recognition for lesbian and gay couples: the present system of civil partnerships plus marriage. Heterosexual couples will have only one option: marriage.
“The Equal Love campaign will continue our legal appeal in the European Court of Human Rights, in a bid to win the right of opposite-sex couples to have a civil partnership, if they wish to do so,” said Mr Tatchell.
Read the full story here:
And see this feature in Gay Star News (GSN):
‘Church gay marriage ban open to legal challenge,’ says Peter Tatchell
Veteran gay rights campaigner says the Church of England and Wales ban on performing same-sex unions is illegal according to European law:
In conclusion, the Government has now set out its proposals for legislating for Equal Marriage. All three main political parties have now decided to give their MPs a free vote. So ... WATCH THIS SPACE!