The Equal Civil Marriage Consultation
Publish Date: 15/03/2012
The UK government are looking at how to enable same-sex couples to have a civil marriage. The consultation will look only at civil marriage ceremonies in a register office or other approved premises (such as a hotel).
There are no changes proposed to religious marriages which continue to be legally possible only between a man and a woman.
The Government are also proposing to retain civil partnerships for same-sex couples only.
However under this proposal individuals will, for the first time, be able legally to change their gender without having to end their marriage.
The Story so far….
Last year the Government lifted the ban on civil partnerships taking place on religious premises and now they are looking at removing the ban on same-sex couples having a civil marriage ceremony.
The Government recognises the commitment by same-sex couples in a civil partnership is the same as the commitment made by opposite-sex couples in a civil marriage. It therefore makes no sense to ban same-sex couples from getting married through a civil ceremony.
This isn’t about Government interfering in people’s lives;this is about removing the barriers to enable greater choice in this modern world.
There has been some confusion in the media and from certain religious groups about this consultation so the Government want to make it absolutely clear that they are proposing no changes to religious marriage.
A marriage through a religious ceremony and on religious premises will continue to only be legally possible between a man and a woman.
The consultation will run for 13 weeks until the 14 June 2012. The Government will then be looking to issue a response in the autumn.
The Government recognises that there are a wide range of views on this issue and they want to hear from all perspectives.
The Lesbian & Gay Foundation are very keen for same sex couples to have the right to a civil marriage and we would encourage all our supporters and all those who wish to support the right for two people of the same sex to have a civil marriage to support this and have their say using the consultation.
Chief Executive Paul Martin OBE says: “We are of course aware that the forces against us are very mobilized on this issue and the numbers who have signed the Coalition For Marriage petition outnumber the people who have signed the Coalition For Equal Marriage Petition by more than 4 to 1. It is therefore vital that we ensure that everyone we know participates in this consultation and ensure that the voices for positive change and for equality are heard.”
The Lesbian & Gay Foundation will be promoting this consultation across all of our communication channels for the next 12 weeks whilst the consultation is open. Please help in any way that you can by re-tweeting this information, updating your facebook pages and of course by good old fashioned talking to people. And of course don’t forget to fill out the consultation yourself!
You can access a copy of the full consultation document and send in your views by completing a simple, online survey on the Home Office website:www.homeoffice.gov.uk/equal-civil-marriage