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Official Consultation Response of the Out4Marriage Campaign

Note: This document describes the positions adopted by the Out4Marriage Campaign Committee based on an overall analysis of the content submitted to the Out4Marriage video campaign. But it does not imply direct endorsement by those individuals who have submitted videos messages to the Out4Marriage video campaign.

Question 1: Do you agree or disagree with enabling all couples, regardless of their gender to have a civil marriage ceremony?

Agree

Question 2: Please explain the reasons for your answer.

Marriage is an important social institution widely acknowledged as the supreme act of commitment and expression of love between two people. The role of marriage in modern Britain extends well beyond that of its traditional theological context; its reach is embedded into both socio-economic rights, legislation and cultural norms.

It is the belief of Out4Marriage that equal marriage, both civil and religious, should be legislated for; failure to do so would not only be a continued infringement on LGBT (lesbian, gay bisexual and transgendered) rights, but also of religious freedoms in the UK. That many religious denominations responded positively to the Out4Marriage campaign speaks to the demand by these groups for just such a situation.

Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affords every person the right to enter into a marriage, regardless of their religion. The Equality Act 2010 includes protections for both people of faith and those whom are atheist. By enabling civil marriage, legislative agreement between the positions would occur and rights for atheist couples, same sex or otherwise, would be extended. However this situation alone does not defend the religious freedoms of LGBT people of faith.

Also, it is the position of countries such as Portugal not to recognise UK Civil Partnerships despite same sex marriage being legal within its borders. This creates an anomaly, acute in the European Union but not unique to it, where expatriated British citizens face dissolution of their legal partnership, and therefore rights, owing to a lack of international treaties on same sex marriage/ partnership rights. In legislating for equal marriage, therefore, HM Government will go some way to enabling freedom of movement for same sex couples.

Question 3: If you identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual would you wish to have a civil marriage ceremony?

This question doesn’t apply to me

Question 4: If you represent a group of individuals who identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual would those you represent wish to have a civil marriage ceremony?

Yes

Official Consultation Response of the Out4Marriage Campaign Note: This document describes the positions adopted by the

Official Consultation Response of the Out4Marriage Campaign

Question 5: The Government does not propose to open up religious marriage to same-sex couples. Do you agree or disagree?

Disagree. Religious marriage should be opened up to same-sex couples

Question 6: Do you agree or disagree with keeping the option of civil partnerships once civil marriage is available to same-sex couples?

Agree

Question 7: If you identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual and were considering making a legal commitment to your partner would you prefer to have a civil partnership or a civil marriage?

This question doesn’t apply to me

Question 8: The Government is not considering opening up civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples. Do you agree or disagree with this proposal?

Disagree. Civil partnerships should be opened up to opposite sex couples

Question 9: If you are in a civil partnership would you wish to take advantage of this policy and convert your civil partnership into a marriage?

This question doesn’t apply to me

Question 10: Do you agree or disagree that there should be a time limit on the ability to convert a civil partnership into a marriage?

Agree. There shouldn’t be a time limit

Question 11: Do you agree or disagree that there should be the choice to have a civil ceremony on conversion of a civil partnership into a marriage?

Yes, there should be an option

Question 12: If you are a married transsexual person would you want to take advantage of this policy and remain in your marriage while obtaining a full Gender Recognition Certificate?

This question doesn’t apply to me

Question 13: If you are the spouse of a transsexual person, would you want to take advantage of this policy and remain in your marriage whilst your spouse obtained a full Gender Recognition Certificate?

This question doesn’t apply to me

Official Consultation Response of the Out4Marriage Campaign Question 5: The Government does not propose to open

Official Consultation Response of the Out4Marriage Campaign

Question 14: Do you have any comments on the assumptions or issues outlined in this chapter on consequential impacts?

With regard to State Pension entitlement for civil partners, Out4Marriage sees that it would be desirable for a full review of state pensions to be undertaken and a consideration for the comparator with “married men” to be reviewed owing to the double glass ceiling often faced by LBT women.

With regard to survivor benefits in occupational pension schemes, rights accrued since the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force should be retained if the civil partnership is converted into a civil marriage. On the wider point, though, of the provisions in the Equality Act 2010, Out4Marriage would like to see proposals brought forward for its modification granting, according to individual cases, rights accrued in occupational pension schemes further back than when the Civil Partnership Act came into force. Markers for evidence can and should include cohabitation agreements or records and/or registration of Local Authority Partnerships Registers in the case of the Greater London Authority.

With regard to record access, Out4Marriage would seek to retain the protections currently afforded to those in civil partnerships and for them to be extended to same sex marriage records, for at least the next fifteen years. A five yearly review conducted by the Home Secretary or the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities or another minister, under advisement from LGBT civil society organisations, on the associated societal risks to same-sex couples of lifting the restrictions, would inform its abolition. Declassification should occur of these records after the same amount of time has lapsed for other public records such as the Census. Out4Marriage would support the introduction of information of both Mother and Father (or appropriate Parent 1 and Parent 2 for same sex parents) with relationship title selection of Mother/Father as a way for future genealogists and historians to map LGBT History.

On international recognition, it would be desirous that HM Government recognise the status of overseas registered same sex relationships as “marriage”, as a default position. Provision should be available to those couples who wish their relationships to be recognised as a civil partnerships to do so. But owing to the potential for confusion, the default position of HM Government should be to recognise such relationships as a “marriage”.

Question 15: Are you aware of any costs or benefits? that exist to either the public or private sector, or individuals that we have not accounted for?

LGBT couples are more and more frequently choosing to start families together. By enacting same sex marriage, HM Government is acting to strengthen the fundamental building block of our society - the family. Just one in eleven married couples separate by the time of their child’s fifth birthday compared to one in three of cohabiting couples. There is no evidence to suggest that this statistic would not be similarly true of same sex married couples. Affording the stability of a married household to more children - a place where they can grow up, be loved, nurtured and launch themselves to success later in life - is both a private and public good. It is something that HM Government has an active interest in seeing realised.

Official Consultation Response of the Out4Marriage Campaign Question 14: Do you have any comments on the

Official Consultation Response of the Out4Marriage Campaign

It is a statutory requirement for schools to teach the importance of marriage to children. By enabling same sex couples to become married Out4Marriage would expect that this position would be updated to reflect that any two people who love each other, and want to show a life-long commitment to one and other, is also positive. It will allow for young LGBT people coming to terms with their sexuality to see a positive example of how their sexuality is not an abnormality in a heterogender normative world.

With regard to the British Honours system, Out4Marriage believes that the same-sex partner of a person in receipt of a title that would normally bestow a consort or courtesy title upon an opposite-sex spouse, should have that same entitlement. Appropriate provisions should be included to allow for this.

Question 16: Do you have any other comments on the proposals within this consultation?

As currently proposed, HM Government will impose a blanket ban on any religious organisation conducting civil marriage ceremonies on their premises, as well as a ban on any religious content in the delivery of a civil marriage. If enforced in the same way as civil partnerships, this would include bans on religious iconography, readings and prayer in

services. Whilst Out4Marriage recognises the proposals brought forward are designed to protect the rights of religious groups who do not wish to conduct such ceremonies, but it completely fails to recognise two key stakeholders rights: namely, LGBT people of faith and the religious freedoms of faith organisations who wish to solemnise same sex marriages.

It is the opinion of Out4Marriage that this leaves HM Government open to long, costly and unnecessary legal challenges on the grounds that it restricts free religious expression; it manifestly fails to deal with the nuance of the issue, and is an infringement on both LGBT, religious, human and civil rights. Many religious leaders from the Quaker, Jewish and Christian communities have recorded videos for the Out4Marriage campaign; this speaks volumes of the demand for a religious ceremony, which includes a solemnisation of the marriage, on behalf of both potential conductors of such ceremonies and LGBT couples.

Further, it is the position of Out4Marriage that any agency, religious or otherwise, who wishes to access public monies is duty bound to ensure that they operate within the principles of the Equality Act 2010 in the provisions for goods, services and public bodies. It is also the belief of Out4Marriage that a statutory duty on HM Government is likely to occur to ensure that procured services do not marginalise people from LGBT communities.

It is the fundamental belief of the Out4Marriage campaign that any religious group wishing to conduct a ceremony should be allowed to do so under a provision in the legislation granting the authority to conduct ceremonies to religious authorities, thus enabling that individual worship communities can decide on the issue for themselves.

Official Consultation Response of the Out4Marriage Campaign It is a statutory requirement for schools to teach

Official Consultation Response of the Out4Marriage Campaign

Official Consultation Response of the Out4Marriage Campaign This document describes the position of the Out4Marriage Campaign

This document describes the position of the Out4Marriage Campaign but does not imply endorsement by those individuals who have submitted videos to the Out4Marriage video campaign

Official Consultation Response of the Out4Marriage Campaign This document describes the position of the Out4Marriage Campaign