LibLink: Lynne Featherstone on marriage – this is not gay rights versus religious beliefs

Writing in the Daily Telegraph Lynne Featherstone says:

I believe that if a couple love each other and want to commit to a life together, they should have the option of a civil marriage, irrespective of whether they are gay or straight.

We are not prioritising gay rights, or trampling over tradition; we are allowing a space for the two to exist side by side…

Marriage is a right of passage for couples who want to show they are in a committed relationship, for people who want to show they have found love and wish to remain together until death do them part. Why should we deny it to people who happen to be gay or lesbian who wish to show that commitment and share it with their family, friends and everybody else? We should be proud of couples who love each other and a society that recognises their love as equal.

You can read her full article on marriage here.

* Mark Pack has written 101 Ways To Win An Election and produces a monthly newsletter about the Liberal Democrats.

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12 Comments

  • Simon McGrath 25th Feb '12 - 8:42am

    Excellent stuff from Lynne.
    But there is one additional thing she should say and that it that churches which don’t want to solemnise gay marriages will not be challenged under equality/human rights legislation to do so or lose their rights to carry out any marriages.

  • Lynne could do with reading the Bisexuality Report… not everyone in a same-sex couple is gay or lesbian :)

  • Surely “rite of passage”?

  • David Pollard 25th Feb '12 - 10:39am

    I agree with Queen Elizabeth 1 ‘I do not look into men’s hearts’. The State should have no interest in whether 2 people ‘love each other’ If two people want to come together, they should have a Civil Partnership. Then if they want to do anything else like getting married then they shoul d just get on with it. At present, I understand, only a C of E Minister is allowed to act as a Registrar. All other religions have to have a State Registrar to make a marriage legal.

  • Simon McGrath 25th Feb '12 - 10:54am

    @david – I don’t think that’s quite right. You don’t need a State Registrar present to make a marriage legal in a Catholic church – you do need a certificate from the Registrar. I believe that also applies to some other denominations.

  • Richard Dean 25th Feb '12 - 12:38pm

    This is an important step forward – well done Lynne! Part of the long, complex, and ongoing battle to free us all from fear and prejudice, and so create a better society for everyone to enjoy.

    Are civil partnerships now treated on an equal footing as marriage partnerships, as far as civil matters are concerned?

    I suspect that many people associate the word “marriage”, not only with rites of passage or declararations of love, but with the idea that their relationship is “approved by God”. A definitely complex issue!

  • IAIN DUNCAN 25th Feb '12 - 7:34pm

    I am glad that Lynn realises that this issue is not ‘gay right versus religious beliefs’. But elsewhere she seems to be polarising the debate (do we get a debate?) as between the church and the state. There are many non religious people who do not see it fit to redefine marriage and are opposed to any such plans to do so.
    The church is certainly being vocal about this issue. For despite reassurances from the government that they will not be forced to carry out gay weddings ,they will inevitably be asked to. And the refusal of those requests will invoke the machinery of the courts. Will Lynn be good on her word if this happens?

  • Richard Dean 25th Feb '12 - 7:58pm

    Thanks, Dave. Your information does help explain why this is particularly important for some people. But if “marriage” is owned by people, it is own by ALL people, and 51% feel differently according to the person on Sky today. Prejudice does not disappear overnight, and I suspect that more than that see same-sex civil partnerships as a way of containing social behaviour that they do not approve of, rather than as marriage in all but name. It’s a big step to go from “tolerated by society” to “blessed by God”, so I expect a lot of resistance to Lynne’s proposals. Are there other equally effective ways to solve the particular problems you identify?

  • Tony Dawson 26th Feb '12 - 3:12pm

    “Marriage is a right of passage”

    Er……….a rite of passage, surely?

    A right of passage is what a supertanker has in the English Channel. ;-)

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