Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tim Farron urges support for equal marriage

Party President Tim Farron has e-mailed members tonight to ask them to respond positively to Lynne Featherstone's consultation on introducing equal civil marriage in England. As you'll no doubt remember, I spent much of the last 3 months of last year urging people to respond to the Scottish one. We've yet to find out whether the SNP will wimp out on this. I hope not and that they will allow civil marriage and religious marriage on a voluntary basis.

The Equality Network up here managed to drum up 24000 supportive responses. The Churches are pretty effective at getting their people to put in anti messages and people with our view can be a bit lazy sometimes. It's fabulous to see that both he and Willie Rennie have championed this issue and are very comfortable talking about it.

We'll find out soon what the SNP Government up here intends to do. I hope that they don't wimp out, fearful at losing support for independence, which seems to be the only thing  they care about. I think they should legislate for both civil and religious equal marriage, but not to compel any religious organisation to carry out ceremonies. It's the most liberal solution that I can see.

I'd have liked the English consultation to include religious ceremonies - but if enough people respond and say they'd like to see that, then it might change their mind.

I think what's also good is that there seems to be a bit of co-ordination going on between Tim's office and LGBT+ Lib Dems.

A slight niggle, though, to report to the wonderful internal comms people. I know I complain all the time about  Scots not being included in things, but we probably shouldn't have got this e-mail. Although we can't respond ourselves, though, we can nag our friends south of the border to do so. Consider yourself nagged. You have until 14th June to make your voice heard.

Here's Tim's e-mail in full:

Dear Caron,

One of our fundamental values as a party is our firm belief in equality.

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.

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.

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! Simply email info@abouttime.org.uk

Best wishes,

Tim Farron MP
Liberal Democrat Party President

1 comment:

Kelvin Holdsworth said...

Is it the case that people in Scotland really can't respond?

There's all kinds of reasons that people in Scotland might have something to say.

Eg - I might want to get married from my parents' home in England.

Or I might be concerned about the pink anvil at Gretna effect if they have radically different laws in England to Scotland.


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