Greens welcome moves towards same-sex marriage but disappointed by limitations

Green elected representatives in Brighton and Hove say the recent announcement to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples is another step in the march for equality but are disappointed by the limitations.

With debate continuing after the recent announcement by the Government that legislation will come forward to offer same-sex couples the same status and rights of full civil marriage as for opposite couples, Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas said, “As a long standing campaigner for LGBT equality, I welcome the Government’s proposals as a positive step towards equal marriage, and am pleased that some faiths which wish to marry LGBT couples may choose to do so.

“With MPs being given a free vote on the subject, I hope that the majority in Parliament will recognise that this is a clear human rights issue and use their vote to support the freedom to marry equally.

“However, it’s deeply disappointing that the proposals would ban Catholic Church and Church of England clergy from conducting marriage for same-sex couples, as well as preventing opposite-sex couples from accessing civil partnerships.

“This is a question of equal love – it is not about asking for special treatment for gay couples or straight couples, it’s about everyone enjoying the same rights regardless of their sexuality.”

Deputy Brighton & Hove City Council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty said, “Greens have long supported equal marriage so we welcome the news that gay marriage legislation will be brought to the Houses of Parliament in the New Year;  it is another step in the march for equality.

“Greens have historically argued that all couples, regardless of their gender or sexuality, should be allowed to marry.

“We are proud of the role that Greens have played in pushing the issues forward, including Green London Assembly member Darren Johnson who asked the Mayor of London to trial civil partnerships in the London Assembly, which, of course, proved so popular that it was introduced as law.

“However, we are disappointed that all clergy from the Catholic Church and Church of England who wish to conduct marriage for same-sex couples are banned from doing so. Greens argue that the proposals unfairly discriminate against Anglicans and Catholics wishing to have their love recognised in the same building as they worship in.

“Ministers from, for example, Unitarian Churches, Liberal Synagogues and the Society of Friends (Quakers) will be permitted to conduct marriages which we welcome, but we are concerned that in the main faiths in the UK there will be, effectively, no change. We don’t think this is good enough at all.

“In addition it is unfair and discriminatory to bar opposite-sex couples from civil partnerships.

“Greens are appalled that many Members of Parliament have used the equal marriage debate to stir up bigotry- Bob Blackman MP has called for the re-introduction of the much-hated Section 28 [1]

“We are disappointed too that Labour having stated that they would apply a three-line whip to the vote has now said that they will apply a free vote.

“It is good that the consultation on marriage has been published [2] and that the debate on meaningful equality will continue, but we believe that the only non-discriminatory way to go forward is to offer all faiths and none the right to marry or to be civilly partnered. Greens will carry on campaigning on this basis.”

For more information please contact the Brighton and Hove Green Party office on 01273 766 670.




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