Tag Archives: marriage

Democratic in name alone #equalmarriage

Today is the morning after a momentous day.

For the first time ever a majority of Northern Irish legislators in either a Westminster or Stormont vote have actually voted in favour of some step towards LGBT+ equality. Yes with 53 in favour and 51 against yesterday the rights of LGBT+ individuals reached a tipping point as never before.

Sadly of course this tipping point also simultaneously gave Northern Ireland an unwelcome entry into the record books. The Assembly yesterday became the first Legislature in the World to vote in favour of marriage equality while simultaneously blocking the same Legislature from progressing that equality measure. The reason of course if the so called “Democratic” Unionist Party (DUP).

In the past the DUP have argued that there was a need for a petition of concern because there was not majority support for marriage equality within the general population. This of course is not an opinion that has been borne out in independent scientific polling evidence in recent years.

Now their Chief Whip the North Down MLA Peter Weir says:

“If it requires a process of attrition to alter a result it does not demonstrate a great deal of force behind the argument.”

However, that is not the case through history. A process of attrition led to the abolition of slavery. Rights for workers. Votes for women. Non conformist emancipation from the established church. Devolution/Home Rule for (Northern) Ireland and Scotland. Civil rights for Jews, Blacks and Roman Catholics and indeed the legalisation of homosexuality. The fact that Peter Weir uses that argument against yesterday’s vote in the NI Assembly shows an ignorance of political history and disrespect of how minorities have always had to get their place as equals recognised by those with privilege.

The DUP are not Democratic, yesterday they have blocked progress a mantra of their newest MLA Emma Pengilly. She is in quite a different position from the UUP’s newest MLA Andy Allen who not only was the only of his party to vote in favour but also made an excellent speech laying out his position.

Yesterday was a morale victory which the LGBT+ people in Northern Ireland and their families and friends will have to remember when if comes to the ballot in the next year for a new Assembly. It also means that the DUP have given additional strength to the argument for a judicial review into the unequal state of marriage across the UK and island of Ireland. Now it is not being blocked by a majority vote in the Assembly but by a Petition of Concern being used to keep a minority less equal.

To all those MLAs who have come along a journey on the five votes in the Assembly we want to say thank you. We know you have been getting a lot of emails and letters from both sides of this debate and taken your time to weigh up what is right. It has not been attrition but good old fashioned lobbying, something that is a democratic right of the people in our nation to ask their representative for a fair and honest hearing of their views. Sadly it is a part of grown up politics that the DUP do not seem to acknowledge but it is something that Northern Ireland needs as we move forward.


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Statement on marriage equality debate

This afternoon Stephen Glenn, co-ordinator of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats Northern Ireland, sat in the gallery of the Assembly while our MLAs debated the motion from the Green Party and Sinn Féin about marriage equality. He was not alone as a large number of equal marriage campaigners were there in the hope that the DUP’s petition of concern would prove to be the only way this motion could be defeated. Sadly it was defeated by four votes even without it.

Forty five of our MLAs did vote for it, one sole unionist voice, that of Basil McCrea spoke in favour despite saying “many in my community are deeply uneasy about it”. He went on to challenge those who said we cannot redefine marriage by pointing out that our state had in the past about many reformed groups including Presbyterians. Before saying something that pretty much summed up the concept of this motion:

“Allowing one group to use a word does not diminish its use by another, and the context will be understood by all. Society accepting equal marriage does not mean that everyone has to agree with the practice.”

However, one minister speaking in a ‘personal’ capacity said the motion was ‘pointless’ and a ‘worthless course to follow’. Another, who responsibility presenting the legislation would be said “I have no intention of bringing forward any legislation to this House to facilitate gay marriage” even before a democratic vote was taken on the issue to ask him to do so.

Speaking after the debate Stephen Glenn said:

“It was great to have this debate take place in Stormont today, it is sign that we have come a long way. I’d like to praise those MLAs and parties that have taken a stance today for equal marriage and the LGBT community, even though the votes did not go in favour. I know that many have come on a long journey both individually and collectively to stand beside the LGBT community today on this issue.

“However, it is sad that a Democratic Unionist Minister should state in his speech that he would fail to act even if a democratic vote, not then taken, asked him to on this matter. While another unionist minister considered it pointless and a worthless cause. This isn’t a sectarian issue despite the petition of concern and how the vote looked today, and I’d particularly like to thank Basil McCrae and his two party colleagues for their support in the division today.

“Bizarrely, after the Covenant celebrations, it seems the unionist side is less able to debate civil freedoms without religious overtones as those that feared Home Rule would bring a hundred years ago. So even though a motion on a tough issue managed to address civil and religious freedom for all it was knocked down. In the words of Mr Wilson they have chosen a road and are unable to facilitate, or even contemplate trying to facilitate other routes.

“However, with 45 MLAs voting for we know that the pendulum of political and public opinion has swung a fair way from previous debates on LGBT issues.”

Local party chair John O’Neill added:

“It is profoundly disappointing, to the NI Liberal Democrats, and to all the people of Northern Ireland, that the Assembly has voted to reject marriage equality. The agreements which instituted the Assembly, and from which its authority is derived, have at their heart equality of citizenship. Not just across the Unionist-Nationalist dyad, but across the whole of the increasingly diverse Northern Ireland, which we all celebrate.

“It is sad that the political representatives of the first nation within the United Kingdom to institute Civil Partnerships have today rejected the obvious next step in the full equalisation of same-sex relationships. However, we are confident that, as debate on this matter continues at Westminster, Cardiff and Holyrood, this is not the last time that this matter will be addressed at Stormont. We are confident also that our MLAs will look to the decisions made in other capitals of the UK, and will not impose second-class citizenship upon the Lesbian and Gay citizens of Northern Ireland.

“Meanwhile,we will continue to work to persuade others both in office and those who elect them to achieve our party’s policy on equal marriage here in Northern Ireland, as our colleagues do so elsewhere in the UK.”

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Equal Marriage to be debated at Stormont

The Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats would like to congratulate Green Party MLA Steven Agnew, along with the Sinn Féin MLAs Bronwyn McGahan and Catríona Ruane on getting an Equal Marriage motion tabled for a plenary debate before the Assembly on 1st October. The text of the motion reads:

Equal Marriage

“That this Assembly believes that all couples, including those of the same sex, should have the right to marry in the eyes of the State and that, while religious institutions ought to continue to have the right to define, observe and practise marriage within the bounds of their institutions, all married couples, including those of the same sex, should have the same legal entitlement to the protections, responsibilities, rights, obligations and benefits afforded by the legal institution of marriage; calls on the Minister of Finance and Personnel to introduce legislation to guarantee that couples of any sex or gender identity receive equal benefit; and further calls on the First Minister and deputy First Minister to ensure that all legislation adheres to the Government’s commitments to promote and protect equality for all.”

We have less than 2 weeks to get writing to our MLAs to urge them to support this motion. So the Equal Marriage NI campaign is going to have a very busy two weeks. The motion contains the element of religious groups not being forced to do anything very much in line with the Alliance Party’s recently passed policy.

However, parties like the UUP and SDLP have yet to show how they will stand on such a motion. The above does maintain freedom of religion while seeking to increase equality. It is actually the first home grown LGBT motion to be discussed before the Assembly and it is calling on the departments responsible to bring forward the legislation.

There is slight worry that there was a parallel motion tabled in the name of the leader of the UUP Mike Nesbitt and his party colleague Danny Kinahan. The title for a start show a lack of understanding of the issues, theirs instead of being called Equal Marriage is called Same Sex Marriage. It reads:

“That this Assembly recognises the diverse views which are held on the issue of same sex marriage; further recognises the concerns of religious institutions with regard to changes to the current definition of marriage; and calls on the First Minister and deputy First Minister to ensure that adequate equality legislation is in place.”

It appears to be a counter motion, which only seeks to ring lock the concerns of the religious institutions without taking into account certain of the diverse opinions that it gives passing mention to at the start. Surely in recognising the diverse opinions something has got to be done about all those diverse opinions and this motion (which we do not think has been selected) will probably form the basis of the counter argument.

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Councillor with ‘no interest’ in equal marriage discards unread letter

Yesterday outside Fermanagh District Council in Enniskillen (the first Council in Ireland to vote against supporting equal marriage) there was a protest against that decision made at the previous council meeting.

Now there has been discussion this week about whether opponents of equal marriage are bigots or not during the week. The local paper The Impartial Reporter recorded comments from some of the Councillors shortly after they had come past the protestor. As part of the protest a letter was handed to each Councillor expressing their concerns about the vote the other week when the Unionists voted against and the SDLP abstained causing Sinn Féin’s motion to fall by one vote.

One Councillor the DUP’s Cyril Brownlee though he took the letter was seen to ball it up and throw it away without even reading it. You can hear Councillor Brownlee’s comments in The Impartial Reporter‘s recordings. Today some are arguing that the actions and then words of Councillor Brownlee can be summed up by the following definition.

big·ot  (bgt)

One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

Definition from The Free Dictionary

As an elected representative he said he would not read a letter expressing a view merely because it ‘was of no interest to him’. Now I think if something of no interest to him to the extent that he will not even read a contrary opinion of concerned surely that is a very, strongly partial tendency to his own position. Yet he has taken a decision, indeed made a statement that the whole, or majority, of Northern Ireland is opposed to something. Yet in our shared present our politicians are bound to respect minorities, indeed enshrined in the founding document of the Northern Ireland Assembly is protections for all those minorities. For something that is of no interest to him however, he took enough interest to vote against something that clearly he hasn’t even looked into, remember it has no interest to him.
If he had cared to read the letter that was send to him, he would have read these words from the demonstration organiser Frankie Dean:

I am writing to you on behalf of the LGBT community in Fermanagh to ask you to reconsider your vote against Equal Marriage. It is not Gay Marriage because that excludes other same sex couples it is Equal Marriage.

In common with any other area  10% of the Fermanagh population young and older will be LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender), it is wrong to discriminate against any group in society especially minority groups.

It is my understanding from information received and also from press reports that a basis of some councillors decision against this motion was for personal religious reasons. I wish to point out that religion has historically been inherently discriminatory towards different groups in society and it is for this reason that decisions made in council meetings should not be swayed by religious beliefs. If that is to be acceptable where is the end perhaps we should close all shops and garages on Sunday and make everyone go to church twice on Sundays.

I also wish to make clear that Equal Marriage legislation would never force any religious organisation of whatever faith to conduct marriages which are not in their framework of beliefs.  It simply makes it possible for those organisations that do wish to conduct same sex ceremonies to do so and will allow same sex couples to marry elsewhere or at the registry office.

Civil partnership legislation is not the same as a Heterosexual Marriage as it leaves same sex couples in a very difficult legal position when it comes to many things including inheritance when one partner dies.

Same sex relationships and marriages will never present any harm or problem to society I cannot understand at all what is the problem with two people making a loving commitment to each other in a society where there is a lot of divorce and difficult relations surely two people loving each other should be encouraged.

In recent meetings council employees told me and others that they supported equality and wanted to reach out to minority groups such as the LGBT community. The decision against Equal Marriage is in direct conflict with this.

Finally I would also point out that out of all the councils that have voted on this issue so far Fermanagh District Council is the only one against. This can only send out messages to society including the worldwide community that Fermanagh is a homophobic place and is behind. This can do nothing to encourage tourism and the local economy. Remember to pink pound is 10% of all income.

I trust that you will take time to review your decisions and will do the right thing and support all sections of society in future.

Unlike Cllr. Brownlee’s irrational actions in not even taking on board the views expressed, this is rational argument pointing out repercussions of the vote that was taken by this Council, not just for a number of residents but to the local economy as well.  Fermanagh is of course Northern Ireland’s Lakeland and along with the Causeway Coast and Mournes one of the jewels for the Northern Irish Tourist Board attracting tourists both straight and gay to come visit.

Hardly a majority of Northern Ireland opposed so far. Hardly an issue that is not of interest. And Cllr. Brownlee’s action are hardly the actions that would be tolerated by elected representatives anywhere else in the UK, or indeed from most other political parties.

To publicly react this way to representation from a minority group within his community would not be tolerated if it were any other minority group. So is this an example of bigotry?

Not everyone who is against equal marriage is a bigot. But sometimes it is the way in which you oppose something that singles you out as one. In the case of Cllr. Brownlee there certainly appears to enough evidence that he is strongly partial to his own group, religion, or politics on this issue and is intolerant of those who differ.

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Unionists not alone in ignorance over what marriage equality means

There was a letter in the Newry Advertiser this month from a representative of a South Down SDLP branch that echoes all to clearly the ignorance that some Unionists have spouted about marriage equality. In it Sinead Challinor questions a report about Caitriona Ruane talking about Sinn Féin’s backing and indeed intent to get Newry and Mourne Council to debate a motion to support equal marriage.
Here is the letter with some fisking in red by me:

Caitriona Ruane’s call for a stepping up of the campaign for the right of gay people to be married is in my opinion not in keeping with the thinking of the majority of her constituents in South Down. I thought the SDLP rose out of the Civil Rights movement that were standing up for the rights of the Nationalist minority at the time. Strange that now majorities are not so important.
I find there is a justifiable level of acceptance in most of society for all to have a level of equality regardless of whether they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. One of South Down’s MLAs is Jim Wells who only last month called all those who take part in Pride repugnant. To deny equality is to deny the right to participation in civic society notice the use of civic society at this point and that should be a given right.

But to engage in providing man made laws remember the civic society element above that would sanction and legalise for gay sic (I’m not going to get into the whole Transgender issue here again) marriage is in my opinion a step too far. Marriage is a binding until there is divorce a man made law agreement between a man and a women, an indissoluble D.I.V.O.R.C.E. contract to provide for the begetting sorry to all those unable to beget anyone and maybe end up adopting or who do without children and educating of children now I thought that was what school was for. The natural contract of marriage was raised by Christ himself to the dignity of a sacriment.

Sinn Féin promotion of gay sic marriage legislation is floated without a great deal of thinking and playing the equality trick will not fool as many as they might think. I happen to know a number of unionists, protestants and those of no faith who have met with Sinn Féin over this issue. There has been discussion, there has been thought. Indeed our Northern Ireland co-ordinator Stephen Glenn has been involved of most of the Lib Dem policy on this over the last number of years. Imagine that if it did become law that gay people could marry then our priests, religious ministers amd custodians of Christian principles would be compelled to carry out such meaningless God defying acts. Wow! So much in that last bit. First they would no more be compelled than they are to marry a divoced person, or someone of another faith if they did not want to. Now for someone defining marriage as so important to then say that it is meaningless needs some further explanation. As for God defying there are Christians and others of faith who happen to be gay in Northern Ireland and elsewhere, there are also Churches and other places of worship who want to carry out same-sex marriages., and God enhancing acts. There is also the matter of those with no faith, where the civic element comes in once again, what about civil marriage and those not married in any church?

Now I can’t be too harsh on a member of the SDLP taking such a position on this. Earlier this month Conall McDevitt tried to say that his party was in favour of marriage equality at Belfast Pride’s Pride Talks Back event, only for his leader to knock him back the following day.

Of course the SDLP are not alone on making this a matter of conscience rather than take a policy position on it. The UUP seem to similarly be getting into a right mess on this issue by not knowing where they stand on this issue and all sorts of language errors appear to be embarrassing the party leadership. The Alliance Party will be coming to some sort of conclusion this Saturday. It may be that Sinn Féin have caught the others on the hop on being the first party at Stormont to have a policy on this that moves from the status quo, in much the same way that the Lib Dems in Scotland* along with the Greens got the issue unto the agenda ahead of the 2010 Westminster Election in the other three parts of the UK.

However, there is one thing that Liberal Democrat policy is very strong on. While we want to allow religious same-sex marriage it will only be in those religious settings and within those religious groups that wish to do so. Those people who are LGBT and off faith don’t want to force anyone to do anything on their behalf, they merely want those that welcome them as who they are to have the option to marry them so that God can have meaning in their union, rather than going to some registry office and shutting God out, or worse with the Conservative compromise, sneak into God’s house while he isn’t there to carry out a civil partnership.

* It only managed to become UK wide Liberal Democrat party policy at the September conference in 2010.

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Sovereign Grand Master and the separation of civil and religious

Millar Farr, Grand Sovereign Master of the Royal Black Institution

As part of his address to the assembled 1,000 members of the Royal Black Institution at Plumbridge, West Tyrone, the Sovereign Grand Master Millar Farr seems to get into a confusion about civil law and religious law. He said:

“In God’s law there is no provision for same-sex marriage. Holy scripture is quite clear on the subject – marriage is between male and female only.

“While man-made laws can be changed, God’s law is unchangeable. How politicians can imagine they have the right to create legislation which is contrary to holy scripture is beyond belief.”

Of course this is not the first time that Millar Farr has used his speaking opportunities in this way.

Now let us look at this in detail, he says that man-made laws can be changed. Now in England and Wales the legislation in question does refer to civil marriage, therefore surely by this reason the Government is at liberty to change civil law it does not prohibit ecclesiastical law from taking whatever line it wants to on the subject. Indeed over time the House of Commons as well as the Northern Irish Parliament have passed Marriage Acts which prohibit or re-permit some of the biblical practices over time.

Therein lies a paradox the state allowed non-Anglican’s to carry out marriage services only in the 1856 Marriage Act. Before that some Christians, the Anglicans, were considered more equal than others. Only they were allowed to be married in their own church. Other denominations while free to worship where they wished had to be married by the Anglican rite, so with my Presbyterian and Baptist background many of my ancestors were deemed to either be not legally married by their own church and/or forced to go through an Anglican rite.

It allowed men to marry their deceased wife’s sister in a 1907 Act and women their deceased husband’s brother in 1921; the latter of these actually was a biblical requirement for a widow without male heir, but had clearly been prohibited. You see our interpretation of what was close kinship had changed over time from what the biblical principle was the widow was expected to bear a son through her dead husbands brother to provide him with an heir, but later this closeness was actually considered incest for a time.

Both these examples show an example of marriage laws being changed either to expand the franchise for all Christian belief, or because the public niceties at the time were not compliant with biblical teaching only to later be changed back. They also show that even the church has changed its view on what constitutes marriage over time and that it is not as set in stone as some anti equal marriage apologists make out.

Now the law of this land had accommodated faith within the Christian and other traditions as far as marriage goes, it has also accommodated those without religion or excluded from religious marriage (maybe due to divorce) the right to marriage through civil marriage. Therefore if the lawmakers want to change the law as Mr Farr suggests they are more than capable of doing so, but as for God’s laws being unchangeable he better look at Peter’s vision at Joppa in Acts 10 and it consequences for a law abiding Jewish Christian.

There is also the other issue of the day about bands marching with his Institution ignoring a request for respect to others and defying a stipulation from the Parade’s Commission. It is because of lack of respect from Loyal Orders and Institutions that anyone seeking to march on the street whether a BB or Scout Church parade, the Royal British Legion, any protest or demonstration of any kind has to jump through the hoops of the Commission. The vast majority of such parades and marches pass off peacefully, yet it is those that fail to show even simple respect to others, the neighbours of the parade, that cause the issues. Most of those that are contentious are through those groups that mark the ancient sectarian divide in one form or another.

I thought that Jesus himself said “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself'” (Matt 22: 37-40). Maybe Mr Farr should concentrate of the greatest two elements of God’s law first and foremost from himself, his institutions members and the bands who march with them.

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Secretary of State opposes marriage equality

Owen Paterson – “together” for the national interest?

Maybe the Northern Ireland Secretary, Owen Paterson, has spent too much time in the presence of First Minister Peter Robinson and his DUP cohorts. Or maybe he was one of those very conservative Conservatives that David Cameron could foist upon Northern Ireland without upsetting the apple cart too much. Whatever the reason Mr. Paterson has become the first cabinet minister to speak out against the cabinet commitment to equal marriage.

In a letter to a constituent in his North Shropshire seat he wrote:

“Having considered this matter carefully, I am afraid I have come to the decision not to support gay marriage.

“However, the government is rightly committed to advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and has already taken action to do so by allowing those religious premises that wish to carry out civil partnershipsto do so, erasing historic convictions for consensual gay sex and putting pressure on other countries that violate the human rights of LGBT people.

“The prime minister has made clear that he supports equal civil marriage and the government is rightly consulting widely on this issue before making any changes to the current position. I am worried that this will be a disappointing response.”

It is disappointing for those of us in Northern Ireland who are fighting for marriage equality to even be considered here in Northern Ireland, and for other LGBT equality issues that we are lagging behind the rest of the UK that the Westminster Government minister should say this. It could give the DUP a scapegoat to hide behind when they are pressured by other parties to look at various LGBT issues. They can say that not all Government ministers support the full slate of LGBT equality issues and not have to point any further than the Secretary of State’s office.

When Liberal Democrat ministers are taking a line of collective responsibility for decisions that can be upsetting our voters and are seen by some as a compromise it is a pity that Conservative government ministers cannot do the same. What is most upsetting is that under Labour we had a number of Secretaries of State who were willing to get under the cosiness of Northern Irish conservatism and shake things up a little for the political status quo. Now we have one that has given ammunition to that status quo to carry on in the area of LGBT inequality with his views.


Filed under Equal Marriage, equality, Northern Ireland Office

Dave for equality in marriage we need equality in language

David Cameron went some way in the step towards equal marriage in his speech yesterday. But he still has some way to go in terms of equality look at the language that he uses [embolding mine]

Yesterday David Cameron in his speech

But for me, leadership on families also means speaking out on marriage. Marriage isn’t just a piece of paper. It pulls couples together through the ebb and flow of life. It gives children stability. It says powerful things about what we should value. So yes, we will recognise marriage in the tax system.

But we’re also doing something else. I stood before a Conservative conference once and I said it shouldn’t matter whether commitment was between a man and a woman, or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman and you applauded me for that. Five years on, we’re consulting on legalising gay marriage.

And to anyone who has reservations, I say this: Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and we support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.

Compare this with the words that Nick Clegg said a fortnight ago.

Just look at what we’ve announced in the last five days. After decades of campaigning, and thanks to Lynne Featherstone: Equal marriage, straight or gay.

Nick only had to touch on it because the minister responsible Lynne Featherstone went into some detail on the Saturday of that conference.

We are a world leader for gay rights, but as this conference made clear last year with your call for equal marriage, there is still more that we must do.

That is why I am delighted to announce today that in March, this Government will begin a formal consultation on how to implement equal civil marriage for same sex couples.

And this would allow us to make any legislative changes necessary by the end of this Parliament.

Civil partnerships were a welcome first step – but as our constitution states, this party rejects prejudice and discrimination in all its forms.

And I believe that to deny one group of people the same opportunities offered to another is not only discrimination, but is not fair.

Conference, this is a Liberal Democrat policy – but now it is a policy being put into action.

However, as our party policy states this is still only the start. Indeed it is only part one of point one as the policy calls for:

  1. Open both marriage and civil partnerships to both same-sex and mixed-sex couples.
  2. To allow approved religious and humanist celebrants who wish to do so to legally solemnise and celebrate same-sex and mixed sex marriages and civil partnerships in any authorised place.
  3.  To allow those individuals who wish to seek gender recognition or change their legally
    recognised gender to remain in their current marriage or civil partnership without changing
    any legal requirements.
  4.  To establish a simple and straightforward process by which any existing civil partnership may be converted into a marriage or vice-versa without the need to dissolve the civil partnership or proceed with a divorce.
  5.  To automatically recognise all non-UK same-sex marriages as marriage in the UK, and to subsequently remove non-UK same-sex marriages from the current schedule which equates them to civil partnerships in the UK.
  6. To continue to maintain the schedule equating non-UK same-sex civil unions or registered partnerships as civil partnerships in the UK.
  7. To add non-UK opposite-sex civil unions or registered partnerships to the schedule equating them to Civil Partnerships in the UK.
  8. To openly promote and encourage recognition of same-sex marriage and civil partnerships across the European Union, especially in countries where currently no laws exist

What the Prime Minister said yesterday was of course a welcome first step. Though he seemed to put it forward as a fait accompli.

On point 2 Section 46B of the Marriage Act 1994 states what is not allowed in a civil marriage:

(4) No religious service shall be used at a service on approved premises in pursuance of Section 26(1)(bb) of this Act.

I have had debates with Conservatives that surely allowing civil partnerships in religious premises saying surely this is equality. I always reply of course it isn’t it is merely a civil ceremony that is being allowed, there are all sorts of ramifications for then wanting to complete any sort of religious blessing if your church wishes to do so.

There is the whole question of Transgender and relationship retention through reassignment. As always with these things when it comes to Acts of Parliament is it always the T of LGBT that gets left behind. Indeed David Cameron while acknowledging women and women relationships even uses just the G to discuss his plans for ‘equal’ marriage.

Of course David cannot talk about equal marriage without allowing churches to carry out religious marriage, without tackling the transgender issues, without looking at civil partnerships for mixed-sex couples and without recognising those that exist but have been carried out elsewhere he has merely bitten into the surface. There is an awful lot more to be done to truly bring about equal marriage and for Dave to be able to get his linguistic issues sorted out.

On a similar note the Catholic Bishop of Paisley, Philip Tartaglia, tipped to be the next Archbishop of Glasgow was rather upset not just by Mr Cameron but also by the SNP. Saying that Catholic voters would desert the SNP if marriage equality became a reality. One does wonder where they would go. Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats and Greens all now are moving towards marriage equality as well.

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