Tim Farron calls on supporters of equal marriage to make their voice heard

With public consultation on proposals to introduce an equal right to marriage for all, Tim Farron has, this evening, urged Party members to take part.

“We have always stood for individual liberty and the right to choose how we lead our lives. This is why I am member of our party and why I am so proud to be your President. It’s why we came into being in the 19th century to protect the rights of religious minorities. It’s why we led the support for equality for women and why we decided before any other major party that civil marriage should be open to same-sex couples equally.

The Liberal Democrats in Government are now delivering on that. There’s an ongoing consultation on how best to deliver equal civil marriage, which will lead to new legislation in this Parliament. The Government consultation asks about the best way to implement equal civil  marriage, and our party conference agreed that the best way to do that is in the context of full equality of marriage and civil partnerships.”

Whilst the provided link to the consultation on the Home Office’s website appears to be faulty, you can take part here.

But first, why not check out what LGBT+ Liberal Democrats have to say on the subject

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  • Dave – I filled in the consultation a few weeks ago, and certainly at that time it said that religions would not be allowed to marry same-sex people even if they wanted to. There wasn’t a structured question that would allow me to object to this bizarre restriction, though I used the “general comments” box to point out how illogical it was.

  • I am still waiting for the opportunity to vote on this issue at an election… Whatever happened to democracy?

  • David from Ealing 17th Apr '12 - 7:44pm

    We need to support it, but at the same time any religious organisation which wishes to have same sex marriages on its premises MUST be allowed to do so.

  • I assume churches that want to do this, will conduct blessings, and it will soon be seen as normal. It would be nice to get there in one step, but we will get there, even if in two or three. First civil partnerships, now civil marriage, later church marriage…

  • Am I alone within the Lib Dems in feeling distinct discomfort on all this – despite my not adhering to any particular religious faith?

    I unequivically supported the introduction of civil partnership as an achievement for gay people which removes their legal disadvantages, provides them with a good way of committing to each other as partners (if they so wish) and in a sense gives them something they have made their own.

    In insisting on using the word “marriage” for a slightly different (how different?) relationship for gay people there is a real risk of alienating very many people – usually of various religious persuasions – who are genuinely liberal in their attitudes but find this a bridge too far. Should they be driven from our midst?

    We progressives have a habit at times of pushing further than we need on issues like this and then claiming we have a majority in favour and to hell with the troubled minority. I call it the triumphalism of the narrow majority.

    I prefer broad consensus – except where crucial human rights are involved. Is this really one of those?

  • Daniel Henry 18th Apr '12 - 11:52am

    Denis, various religious groups are trying to claim that they own the definition of marriage. This is quite untrue as Steve Gilbert showed in this helpful article:

    By trying to claim ownership over the definition of marriage, this is a thinly veiled attempt to push their religious views into our law making.

  • @Sara Bedford Yes this is exactly how I did it and I know of others who did. If a religion wishes to conduct same-sex marriages then they should be allowed to. It’s a shame there isn’t a more straightforward way of giving this response.

    @Denis Many people describe people in civil partnerships as married anyway and our language has always evolved just as society changes. Personally despite being gay I’ve never felt particularly strongly about the need for civil partnerships to legally be called marriage. However, more importantly as a liberal I don’t see why they should not. At the same time, if a religion doesn’t want to do same-sex marriage ceremonies, then that should be their choice.

  • Thank you to those who have commented on my post. Let me make it clear that I have no personal problem about using the word marriage in this way. I also am fully aware of the reasoning behind the views that the proponents of this change hold. My concern is about those – and I fear they are quite numerous – who do not hold those views but otherwise are very much with our party and are progressive in their general outlook. We risk losing some such people over this.

    Hence, although I will completely accept the change – which now seems inevitable – I have no stomach to campaign for it.

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