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House of Lords backs equality in Civil Partnerships

December 16, 2011 12:12 PM

LGBT+ Liberal Democrats see yet another victory for equality in yesterday's unsuccessful attempt by Baroness O'Cathain to annul the legislation for civil partnerships to be celebrated in those religious premises which choose to do so.

We were delighted to see so many Liberal Democrats Peers were present for the debate yesterday.

Lord Rennard, who was in the debate, said:

"The coalition government brought forward the regulations to permit civil partnerships to be conducted on religious premises, in accordance with the Equality Act of 2010. This Act was amended during its passage in the Lords at the instigation of Lord Alli, and every Liberal Democrat peer who voted supported this principle when it was voted on then.

"The debate made clear that there was no real merit in the argument advanced that religious organisations could be forced against
their will into allowing civil partnerships to be conducted on their premises. It is not a coincidence that those peers who tried a legal argument seemed to be those most opposed to the principle of civil partnerships.

"A number of religious organisations already wish to permit this and I hope that those currently opposed to this idea will become more supportive of the principle in future - but that is up to them.

"Liberal Democrats are proud to have been major supporters of all legislative changes to advance the cause of equality and we are pleased that the coalition government's next step is to move ahead with the plans for equal marriage. As we want to see equal respect before the law as expected in the universal declaration of human rights and the constitution of the Liberal Democrats."

Adrian Trett, Chair LGBT+ Liberal Democrats, added

"The Liberal Democrats remain the only major party to believe in full equality of marriage and civil partnership. Lord Ali's amendment is a step forward towards that goal. I am also delighted that it is Liberal Democrat Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone who is about to start the consultation on equal civil marriage, making further steps forward."