Response to consultation on civil partnerships

Response to consultation on civil partnerships

Civil Partnerships Consultation Responses
Government Equalities Office
Zone 9/K10 Eland House
Bressenden Place

22nd June 2011


To Whom it may concern

Please accept this letter as my response to the consultation about civil partnerships on religious premises.

I welcome the proposal to remove the legal barrier to civil partnerships being registered on the religious premises of those faith groups that choose to allow this to happen. I see this as an important step forwards for both gay and religious equality and freedom.

I believe that it is wrong to prevent those faith organisations who wish to hold civil partnership ceremonies from doing so. The current restrictions on civil ceremonies in places of religious worship leave some faith groups having to discriminate against same-sex couples, even when they do not want to do so. I understand that such faith groups include Quakers, Unitarians, the Metropolitan Community Church and Liberal Jews. I also believe it is wrong to block same sex couples from being able to seek to have their civil partnership registered in a place of religious worship, where this is accepted by the faith group concerned. I understand that there are a significant number of religious lesbian and gay couples who wish to have their partnership registered in a religious setting, and I do not believe that this should be prevented by law.

Whilst I support the important advances being made, I also want the Government to go further and equalise marriage rights by allowing gay couples to have a civil marriage and heterosexual couples to have a civil partnership. I agree with the Equal Love campaign, for example, that the case for ending sexual orientation discrimination in both marriage and civil partnerships is overwhelming.

There are already 17 Countries, provinces and states which provide for marriage of both same-sex and different-sex couples (Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, USA (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, District of Columbia), Mexico (Federal District) and 12 countries, provinces and states which provide for civil partnership for same-sex and different-sex couples: Australia (Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria), Canada (Québec), Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, USA (Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, District of Columbia). Therefore two countries and one province have demonstrated the possibility of providing for both marriages and civil partnerships for both same-sex and different-sex couples - the demand made by the Equal Love campaign, which I support (Canada (Québec), Netherlands, South Africa).

I welcome the current proposals for change and urge the Government to go further and end all sexual orientation discrimination in marriage and civil partnership. Thank you for your consideration of these comments.

Yours sincerely,


Caroline Lucas, MP, Brighton Pavilion


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