Welcome progress on marriage; but urgent action needed on civil partnerships and Trans rights

LGBT Labour today welcomes the Government’s announcement of the date for the first same sex marriage in England and Wales. The measure will allow same sex couples to become married in a registry or approved religious premises from 29 March 2014. Those couples wishing to be among the first to marry will need to formally give notice of their intention to marry on 13 March 2014.

LGBT Labour has however urged the Government to speed up their plans on civil partnerships and reforming marriage law for the Trans community.

Tom Burke, LGBT Labour Co-Chair said:

“The Labour Party overwhelmingly voted for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act. We welcome today’s announcement that couples will be able to marry from next March.

We are concerned by the further delays to couples currently in civil partnerships being able to convert to a marriage and implementing provisions to allow married people wanting to change their legal gender without their annulling their marriage.

Following months of consultation and the passage of the Bill through Parliament, there is no compelling reason for further delay. The Government has had plenty of time to set plans. Many couples were waiting for today’s news and will be disappointed by the delays. We urge the Government to remove uncertainty and set a timetable as soon as possible.”

 

Notes to editors

  • The Labour Party has been a strong supporter of marriage equality.  85% of Labour MPs voted for marriage equality; compared to just 42% of Tories. Indeed, more Tory MPs voted against marriage equality than for it.
  • Today’s announcement followed lobbying from Labour and non-party political groups such as Stonewall pressing the Government to bring forward the commencement date from summer 2014 as first proposed.
  • The last paragraph of the Government announced the delays to civil partnership and married trans people’s rights. It stated:

The government is working hard to ensure that couples wishing to convert their civil partnerships into marriages, and married people wanting to change their legal gender while remaining married, will be able to do so as soon as possible. We aim to do this before the end of 2014.

  • Today’s announcement affected couples in England and Wales. The Scottish Parliament last month passed its equal marriage bill through the first stage of debate with a large majority. There are currently no plans for marriage equality in Northern Ireland.