Tim Farron MP writes… Equal Marriage consultation: take part and spread the word

One of our fundamental values as a party is our firm belief in equality. This is why I am member of our party and why I am so proud to be your President. We have always stood for individual liberty and the right to choose how we lead our lives. That’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, with today’s 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.

It’s important that you, and as many people as possible, respond to this consultation. LGBT+ Liberal Democrats have prepared a guide to the consultation, what it means, and how to respond to support the Liberal Democrat policy of equality. You can find it at http://www.abouttime.org.uk/

Local parties can also order leaflets from LGBT+ Lib Dems to distribute around local venues – not just ones specific to the LGBT+ communities, since equal marriage affects everyone!

For more detail on our LGBT+ campaigning, please see http://lgbt.libdems.org.uk/ or follow @lgbtld on Twitter.

* Tim Farron is Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Agriculture and MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Nice to see the Coalition delivering – or at least on the way to delivering – something so unambiguously liberal.

  • The proposals do not create equality, they seek to enshrine inequality. They perpetuate the view that “civil partnerships” should be regarded a second class marriages.

    Once central proposal, to retain civil partnerships is laughable. It will lead to the ridiculous position where those who want to marry in a religious establishment which wishes to offer gay marriages cannot. Instead they can only register a civil partnership in the presence of a congregation. If they want to marry, they have to go to a register office.

    It’s long past the time when we should adopt the practice in many European countries where the religious ceremony is separated from the entering into a civil legal arrangement. Conduct all marriages recognised by law in Register Offices and then have the union blessed by any religious organisation according to their rites and practices. Afterall, if it was good enough for Prince Charles, it should be good enough for every else in the church he will in due course become Supreme Governor of.

    If the fundamentalists wish to continue to push the concept of “traditional marriage” down out throats, let them stick to their words. They claim marriage is for the purpose of procreation. Very well, let them introduce a fertility test to show that the couple are able to comply with this tenat.

  • James Sandbach 15th Mar '12 - 6:17pm

    As I understand C of E has always had the privileged position that because it is the ‘established church’ it’s marriage rites and rituals under ecclesiastical law are automatically recognised as civil law marriages – whereas for other churches they have to go through a bit more of a double-hoop registration process and are not ‘automatically’ recognised as state sanctioned marriage, Hence the crossover between civil marriage and traditional church marriage in the UK. I don’t have so much problem which churches/religions being discriminatory on the basis of their ‘beliefs’ about who they marry under their ‘rites’ etc but what I absolutely can’t abide is the State and our civil law being discriminatory … the sooner this church/state marriage nexus nonsense is dealt with the better! Keeping civil partnerships as an alternative to civil marriage is a major anomily in this context.

  • I was disappointed to hear this morning that the consultation for England and Wales was not considering allowing marriages in religious buildings. It was a bit surprising given that, in Scotland, the position of both the Scottish Lib Dems and many senior Tory MSPs (including the leader) is that it would be permitted with the proviso that no religious organisation would be forced to carry them out. I hope that the consultation will change that and the situation will be the same both North and South of the border.

  • Keith McGrellis 15th Mar '12 - 10:42pm

    KL, at least you’re having a consultation. It’s not even on the radar in the Northern Ireland Assembly

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