Legalise Same-sex marriage
‘Support the right of two people in love to get married, regardless of gender.’ Please:
What is happening?
The government recently concluded a Consultation on the introduction of same-sex marriage. It is the Coalition’s intention for same-sex civil marriage to be legal in the UK by the next general election in 2015, and this Consultation is a key part of that process.
Successive polls have demonstrated wide support for same-sex marriage in the UK, both from the LGBT community and society more generally. For instance, a recent ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraphdemonstrated that 45% of people were in favour of same-sex marriage, while just 36% were opposed.
Around the world same-sex marriage has already legalised in many countries and states, including Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Mexico City, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and six US States including New York.
Despite the overwhelming support for same-sex marriage, a ‘grassroots’ organisation, led by a former Archbishop of Canterbury, a former Lord Chancellor, half a dozen MPs and four bishops, called the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), has launched a high-profile campaign against the proposals.
The campaign anticipates “profound consequences” if same-sex marriage were legalised, including the ’sidelining’ of traditional marriage. They go on to suggest that ‘People’s careers could be harmed’, though they don’t state how.
In response, a counter-campaign has been launched, though in a much more modest fashion. TheCoalition for Equal Marriage (C4EM) was launched by a same-sex couple ‘who might just want to get married some day’.
What are we doing?
We believe equality before the law to be vital and that the rights of one class of person to equal treatment should not be compromised because of the unshared religious beliefs of anyone, and as such we fully support the aims of C4EM campaign.
In 2010 we lent our support to the ‘Equal Love’ campaign. The Equal Love campaign seeks to end the twin bans on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships. The Equal Love campaign is working to end sexual orientation discrimination and to open up both systems to LGBT and heterosexual couples.
Until such times, our fully trained and ever-growing network of celebrants continue to conduct many humanist wedding ceremonies every year.
In June 2011 we responded to a government consultation on holding Civil Partnerships on religious premises, and called for the remaining inequalities for LGB humanists and the non-religious to be addressed. Read our full consultation response.
What can you do?
The Coalition for Equal Marriage’s campaign is built around the mass-petitioning of supporters. In little over two weeks, the petition has attracted almost 30,000 signatures!
If you support the right of two people to marry, regardless of their gender, please lend your name to C4EM’s petition and show the government the strength of feeling in the UK!
You can also email your MP, voicing your support for same-sex marriage and asking them to raise the matter with Ministers. If you are strapped for time, we have a pre-written letter in support of same-sex marriage which you can use. It would be more effective, however, if you could personalise your letter, drawing on your personal experiences and opinions.
Please do forward a copy of any response you receive to the BHA, as it may help to make our campaign even more effective.
It would be particularly powerful for couples who are seeking same-sex marriages, or who are already civil partners, to write to their MP, describing their personal experiences of discrimination in marriage law.
The BHA has made numerous representations to the government on marriage and civil partnerships, which can be found under ‘Marriage Laws Articles and Submissions’.
Together we can take a powerful stand for equality in British law.