New push for LGB and T equality

Today the Government announced, as part of our commitment to advancing equality for lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) people – that religious buildings will be allowed to host civil partnership registrations. 

The change, which will be entirely voluntary and will not force any religious group to host civil partnership registrations if they do not wish to do so, is being introduced as part of the Equality Act. It will give same-sex couples who are currently prevented from registering their civil partnership in a religious setting – the chance to do so.

As the Home Secretary says: ‘This Government is committed to both advancing quality for LGB&T people and ensuring religious freedom of religion for people of all faiths -which is why we will be allowing religious organisations to host civil partnership registrations if they choose to do so’.

The government’s LGB&T action plan, which was published last year, included a commitment to look at next steps for civil partnerships, and giving religious organisations the right to host registration is the first stage in that process.

We have also identified a real desire to move forwards to equal civil marriage and parnerships, and will be consulting further as to how legislation can develop, working with all those who have an interest in the area.

Over recent months I have spoken to many LGB&T people and campaign groups, and it quickly became clear that there is a real desire to address the differences between civil marriage and civil partnerships.

I have always been completely clear that equal rights means exactly that – the same rights not different rights.

So I am very, very pleased to be able to announce that we are going to be the fist British government to formally look at what steps can be taken to address this.

0 thoughts on “New push for LGB and T equality

  1. Lynne, does this mean that the Government will not be opposing Peter Tatchell’s case in the European Court of Human Rights?

  2. Very welcome news, especially the second part.

    As bi activists have observed since the Civil Partnerships Act: before that act, our relationships had different legal standing depending on the gender of our partner, whereas since that law, our relationships have different legal standing depending on the gender of our partner!

    Time to take the gender out of marriage and civil partner law 🙂

  3. This still doesn’t fix the problem that the government is preventing me from either marrying, or civil partnering my boyfriend.
    He’d have to marry me as female, undermining his gender identity and therefore preventing him getting a gender recognition certificate.
    So much for the tories focus on marriage…

    I WANT to get married/civil partnered, but I’m not allowed.
    If I die – he will have to pay inheritance tax, because we can’t even say we’re living together as if married.

    Please, sort it out. It’s doing my nut in.

  4. “I have always been completely clear that equal rights means exactly that – the same rights not different rights.”

    Then why is there any need for a consultation, which will put back the date for people to get these equal rights?

  5. Good that they are allowed to host civil partnership ceremonies, hopeless that it is entirely voluntary……so not equal then.

    Since when has equal treatment been a purely voluntary action? It doesn’t happen in guest houses for example, they quite rightly have to treat everyone equally so why not churches, synagogues, mosques etc etc??

    I suppose all this will be cleared up in the ‘real desire to move forward’ at some time in the future. I won’t hold my breath. Yet another fudge………it’s getting a bit wearing.

  6. The direction we need to go in is towards equal marriage. These proposals fall some way short from that.

    Why consult only on opening civil marriage to gay couples? Is that phrasing deliberately chosen to prevent discussion of same-sex couples entering into marriage in religious premises? It seems ironic that discussion could not take place on that at the same time that civil partnership ceremonies may be allowed in religious premises.

    Most gay couples I know who want a religious ceremony would want to get married. Indeed, no-one ever approaches me and asks for an actual Civil Partnership to be celebrated in church.

    Notwithstanding the squeals of the narrow minded, government should be moving to equal marriage for all couples. That means religious celebrants being able to choose as individuals whether or not to be able to marry any couple either straight or gay. It also means requiring registrars to marry all couples on the same terms.

  7. ” I have always been completely clear that equal rights means exactly that – the same rights not different rights.”
    How sad that statement does not stretch to volunteer workers without contracts ,who have no legal rights against discrimination .Surely if you want these people to help you bail out the Country in the Big Society ,you should not be treating us as second class citizen with no rights against abuse .
    Instead of washing your hands of us , it would be nice if we could receive the same level of support from you as this section of the population does.

  8. “I have always been completely clear that equal rights means exactly that – the same rights not different rights.”

    Then be true to your beliefs and start fighting for children born before 1 July 2006 to unmarried British fathers, to have an equal pathway to British citizenship through them! All other children born to a British parent have this, we don’t.

    Otherwise, your flowing words are just lip service.

    Stop being a birth status bigot, Lynne. Illegitimate children are human beings too!

  9. Lynne,
    This is great news. I’m grateful that my hubby and I have a civil partnership, but I have never liked being “equal but apart”. I only want what heterosexual people have, the opportunity for marriage, nothing more.

    Please PUSH and PUSH and PUSH for this!

  10. Hi Lynne

    Well done at persuading government to start to do the right thing.

    I am sure that the consultation with trans-affected couples who face State imposed divorce for the trans partner to obtain legal recognition will take approximately 1 second!

    Perhaps the appropriate amendment to the 2004 Gender Recognition Act could be tacked-onto the Freedom Bill (freedom not to have ones family disrupted)?


  11. How wonderful that gay couples will have equal rights to have a civil partnership – not a marriage – in a “religious building”. Woohoo!

    And then both partners will face the same rights as everone else, to lose their job, to fail to get health care and to subsidies Nick Clegg’s lying and Tory donors evading taxes.

  12. Lynne, does this mean that the Government will not be opposing Peter Tatchell’s case in the European Court of Human Rights?

  13. This is a welcome change and one which I hope people will embrace. It should be good for people who are GLBT to be able to have their service whereever they want it. I am very pleased with this.

  14. Keep at it R Collins, it’s such an important issue.

    Maybe talk to politicians form other parties too if Lynne won’t listen

  15. Pingback: Featherstone says Government will look at next steps for same-sex marriage

  16. as a Christian, I just cannot understand why churches should (albeit voluntary at the moment) be asked to bless gay marriages.
    Jesus never judged anybody. But neither did he condone sin in any form; eg the woman at the well. Whether she changed her way of life, we’ll never know.
    But he showed us what is right & what is wrong before God. That surely must be our guiding principle.
    If people disagree for whatever reason, fine. Let them; we’ve been given that freedom of choice. And surely in a democratic country churches should also be given the right to disagree.

  17. @ Paul Attard – you’re right, Jesus never judged anybody so why do you? Being gay is not a sin and the Church should be pleased to have the opportunity to bless gay marriages. Would you prefer that committed Christians in a stable relationship should not get married?

    …and as for the right to disgree, many Churches taught that slavery was decreed to be right in the Bible, were they correct? Should they still be allowed to preach that inequality is correct and can be backed up in the Bible??

    We have a society that supports equality, a society that I am increasingly proud of.

  18. Dear Nick Clegg and Fannny Featherstone,
    What the hell are you and your bedfellows the Tories up to?
    It appears that the “new Age” agenda to ruin whatever is Godly is pushing ahead.
    The Liberal Democrats have always been a lot of perverts and not surprisingly they are actioning their anti Christian thinking on society.
    Typically rather than going the whole hog in one go they (and you) are sneakily going bit by bit towards gay marriage in churches.
    You hope that by incrementally going ahead in such a way then nobody will notice or care, but rather you will create black = white by the old shades of grey method.

    This is demonic.

    It is introducing homosexual marriage in church by coming up the back passage!!

    The talking is over the spiritual warfare has now begun – beware !!

    Ray Crossman
    0118 9345998

  19. @ Ray Crossman:

    What a great advert for Christianity you are, spreading hate and finishing up with old fashioned vulgarity and a threat. Lovely.

  20. Hello, I am an agnostic! I would love to believe in god! (maybe I do!!)

    But……….why is someone called david answering featherstones questions!

  21. I must admit….mr Crossman has a point, in the sense of he has a belief….which is justified in the belief of many! He is right to believe in what he believes…and I would stand by a man of belief! ….If I disagreed ….then hey….lets be adults!! lets talk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Hi Andy Laurie

    I’m not answering questions addressed to Lynne, just putting forward my own opinions. I don’t like bigotry in any of its forms and I really don’t agree that simply because someone has a ‘belief’ that they should automatically be ‘right’…..after all, many of the Nazi high command believed they were right, so did slave owners, so did the Inquisition. Frankly they were all wrong even though their beliefs were strong.

  23. This is really a very wrong piece of law. There is a balance here between the right to freedom of sexuality and the right to freedom of religion.

    The law and the state should allow and support the right of all people to be civily married and treated equally for matter of inheritance etc.

    The law should allow religious institutions which wish to, to marry lesbian and gay people on their premises.

    The law should not compel those of religious faith to marry lesbian and gay people on their premises where this is contrary to their faith – to do so is to undermine freedom of religion.

    Lesbian and Gay people who wish to marry in the place of worship of a religion which believes their lifestyle to be contrary to their faith – clearly do not share that faith – so why would they wish to be married at such a place?

    Compulsion in such a case is profoundly illiberal – in that it is essentially intolerant of a different opinion.

  24. If I read Lynne’s posting right, LibDemBen, that’s exactly the direction things are heading in.

    Though it’s not a matter of bisexual and gay people not sharing a given faith, just not sharing a particular interpretation thereof – for every religion I can think of there are differing ways of following it, different ideas of what is essential and what is a matter of personal conscience, from one believer to the next, on many aspects not just sexuality.

    Where those who choose to follow a particular faith have chosen an interpretation of associated texts that welcomes bisexual and gay people, they could now have the freedom to carry out civil partnerships etc on their religious premises.

    There’s no suggestion that people will be compelled to open their spaces up to weddings that go against their interpretation of their religious edicts.