LGBT Labour welcomes today’s announcement on the Government’s consultation to extend the right to civil marriage to same-sex couples.
This is the natural and logical next step in the journey towards equality advanced by the previous Labour Government and builds on the legal rights introduced with civil partnerships. The battle to get civil partnerships through was a hard fight and we hope through that ground work this fight will be easier.
Whilst welcoming the consultation, LGBT Labour is disappointed at the missed opportunity to extend equal marriage rights to religious institutions that want them and the extension of civil partnerships.
No-one believes churches should be obliged to carry-out same-sex marriages but there should be the option available for those who wish to do so. Not including this in the proposals is a missed opportunity especially following the recent introduction the Alli Amendment allowing religious civil partnerships.
The Government must also set out a clear timetable for progress including a commitment to legislation on this issue in the next Queen’s Speech.
Hannah Blythyn, Co-Chair of LGBT Labour commented:
“LGBT Labour has been campaigning for marriage equality, which is a natural extension of the advances achieved by the last Labour Government.
“It is encouraging that the Government has come out in favour of marriage equality, but it is disappointing that they will not be consulting on extending civil partnerships to straight couples or consulting on allowing religious institutions to undertake religious marriages where they wish to do so.
“It is important we see progress on this including a commitment to getting this into law in the next Queen’s Speech.
“We’ll be responding to the consultation and will be encouraging our members to do so too. We know the opponents of marriage equality will ensure their voices are heard, those supporting equality must make sure they are heard too.”