The Coalition Government has formally announced in Parliament the Same-Sex Marriage bill to be introduced in the House of Commons. This is a great day for LGBT+ Liberal Democrats who set the ball rolling on this campaign in September 2010, where at their Autumn Conference, local party representatives voted overwhelmingly for Equal Marriage policy, becoming the first major party and first party of Government to support marriage equality.
Adrian Trett, Chair of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats, commented "This is an historic day for equality as Parliament begins the process of debating these proposals which have been fought for by many campaigners. In the 21st century, every couple should be free to celebrate their relationship in marriage. Love is equal regardless of sexuality. Adopting equal marriage is a baseline of equality which will help this country be seen as a beacon of inclusiveness across the world. I'm proud of all Liberal Democrats who have supported this for many years, particularly Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, former Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone and Equalities Minister Jo Swinson."
"Equal marriage legislation will enable those religious organisations who wish to opt-in to be able to perform same-sex marriages. Some organisations, like the Church of England and Wales, will require changes in both their own primary and Canon law before being able to opt in and therefore will be legally barred from performing same-sex marriges for the time being. However should those internal laws be changed, amending this legislation will be simple compared to introducing it.
"This Bill follows on from the consultation carried out by Lynne Feathestone, the Lib Dem former Minister for Equalities whose support for LGBT+ equality remains unrelenting. The Bill will be published in full tomorrow, and LGBT+ Liberal Democrats will scrutinise the bill closely to ensure that it is as close as possible to Liberal Democrat Party policy, the only political party who actually has an agreed position. Should elements of our policy be omitted, we will continue to fight for those parts during the Bill's progress through Parliament."