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Government publishes proposals and opens consultation on same sex marriage

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  1. The more of us that respond, the better. Let’s get this next step on the way to equality onto the statute books!

    1. I responded. Most of my church friends already have.

      1. Great.

        Pleased you feel it is a useful passing of your time.

        I suppose at least it means you considered the humanity of LGBT people for a while.

        Then you chose to be on the wrong side of history.

        The wonderful thing is the Home Secretary, Equalities minister, Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have made it crystal clear that this is not a consultation on whether same sex civil marriage should happen. The government are determined it WILL happen.

      2. How wonderful for you and your friends, do you feel good knowing that you are irrelevant to the outcome? This is a secular matter that means you and your other delusionals are not going to matter in this. Have another little hissy fit and then take yourself off to church get down on your knees and comfort yourself with the knowledge that the jigs up, you lot are being binned and about time too.

    2. Absolutely! Yes, let as many of us respond to the consultation as possible.

      And can I urge people to do it carefully and in a measured manner.

      Compose and check what you say in a word-processing document before posting it on the website.

      Answers that have clearly been carefully composed and considered will obviously be received and considered with more respect.

      The consultation pages are at:

      http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/consultations/equal-civil-marriage/

      And let us urge every person we know to respond to the document, because, for sure, legions of homophobes will have been ordered to spew their bile on the above webpages in an effort to kill this advancement.

  2. It’s encouraging that almost all the questions are written so that they can only be answered by those who are directly affected by the consultation.

  3. Locus Solus 15 Mar 2012, 11:02am

    I just want to be married and pursue happiness, is that too much?
    As one guy put it when I told him I’m getting married: “Yeah but it’s not ‘marriage’ is it, it’s a civil partnership.” :(

    1. Locus Solus 15 Mar 2012, 11:50am

      Okie I just filled in the consultation, and shared it with my friends on facebook :) With a little personal message to let them know this is a big deal for me! I suggest you guys do da same! xo

    2. Locus, well, you just tell that guy that no, he’s wrong, it won’t be just “civil partnership”, it WILL be marriage.

  4. Peter & Michael 15 Mar 2012, 11:07am

    We will convert our Civil Partnership to Civil Marriage as soon as possible, this will not take place on religious institutions, those Same-Sex Couples that wish to have a proper religious service should be able to do so. Besides, having the Same-Sex Marriage solemnization in a church that wishes to do this, as some wish to do, although we now understand the government is stopping any church from doing this to appease the cofe and catholic church.

  5. I find it HUGELY distressing and unfathomable that the Government is catering to religious organisations/ groups over this issue at all. It’s a human rights issue, through and through. The notion they are allowing themselves to be cajoled by a herd of people that believe in, for want of a more respectful word; ‘fairytales’ is baffling. That said, this consultation (and comments from Cameron/May etc.) show a pleasing separation between state and church.

    1. It’s not nice for us, but I don’t think the government should be able to say to people that their beliefs are wrong. Government should be enabling, not disabling. And separation of church and state does not mean that the state should have and promote the ABSENCE of religion; it means that the state and the law can work with ANY religion (within reason, of course).

      (agnostic)

      1. Don’t get me wrong, I am vehemently opposed to discrimination in ALL forms. And I couldn’t agree more with you, the government should have no way of saying what people believe is incorrect. My problems lies with the influence a belief system can have on law, which affects ALL of us (believers and non-believers). There’s a good deal of people sitting there (and I’m one of them, don’t get me wrong) feeling a great amount of anger towards religious groups as their discrimination is being recognised, and our persecution is not.

        My point, filtered down from the aggravated waffle above, is that no religious institutions are being FORCED to go along with this, and yet we are getting the most unspeakable bile from them which is tantamount to “You don’t deserve this because you’re not X and Y”. That, my friend, is horsesh*t.

        You get on with your lives, and let us get on with ours. That’s really it.

    2. The government has to include faith groups in the consultation because that’s the law. This is a consultation, not a vote, so lots of consultation responses from homophobes will not derail it. And it is quite right and correct that faith groups and religious people have input into the consultation. There are many faith groups that do perform and support same sex marriage, but there are also many individual members of Catholic and C of E congregations that support same sex marriage. Those who do not have a right to comment on whether civil marriage law will affect what happens in their churches or not – clearly it won’t!

  6. Jock S. Trap 15 Mar 2012, 11:34am

    Already completed….. here’s to the future!!!

  7. Paying for the “upgrade” from CP to marriage: ridiculous. It is unacceptable to ask people to pay to stop being subject to discrimination.

    The consultation paper acknowledges what I’ve said all too often – the govt has been misrepresenting English marriage law. Marriage as regulated by the law is all the same – there are no separate categories of civil and religious marriage. Whether someone has a “religious marriage” is a question of what a particular church believes, and has nothing to do with the law.

    The government is proposing to alter marriage law so that same-sex couples can get married through civil weddings only, while different-sex couples can continue to have religious weddings.

    This means that a single piece of legislation (marriage law) covering a single institution (marriage) will outline separate procedures, depending on the gender mix of the couple. This is so clearly discriminatory that is surely just a question of time before the ECHR strikes it down.

    1. Spanner1960 15 Mar 2012, 2:46pm

      I totally agree. Yet another way for the government to bleed us dry.
      They fck it up, and then have the nerve to charge us when they finally get round to fixing it.

    2. The government already mandates that civil opposite-sex marriages held in a registry office cannot have any religious elements in them. So I don’t think this can be correct, there is already a distinction made in law between civil and religious marriage ceremonies. This could certainly be seen to discriminate against religious freedom if a church wants to marry a same sex couple, but there are already two separate procedures.

  8. I strongly suspect that this is seen as ‘the next step’ rather than ‘the end of the journey’. The only reason for keeping same-sex civil partnerships seems to be to give a workaround for churches who want to ‘marry’ same sex partners, while the ‘religious marriage’ bit is to try and shut the churches up.

    The fact that the document recognises that’s there’s no legal definition of ‘religious marriage’ or ‘civil marriage’ means that, at some point the next, next step can be taken.

    I hope.

    1. gino meriano 15 Mar 2012, 1:09pm

      The journey is not over and many ay rights campaigners have more work ahead of us, but the more we get the more we move closer to TRUE equality

  9. I have completed the consultation. I’m disappointed that religious same-sex marriage is not on offer. The only reason that liberal religious group campaigned for religious civil partnerships is that it was all that was on offer at the time. So if religious same-sex marriage is not on offer, it’s not marriage equality, is it?
    .
    Also disappointed that civil partnerships are not on offer to opposite-sex couples.
    .
    And that Pagan and humanist weddings will still have no legal standing in England and Wales. (Pagans will perform weddings for same-sex couples, and have done for decades – however no Pagan wedding has any legal standing.)

  10. Equality! Equality! Equality!

    I don’t care if they say that all marriages can only take place on Mars – as long as the rules are the same for straights and LGBTs.

    The same principle of equality should apply to those flimsy civil partnerships if they really must continue (and I don’t think they should, it would just be confusing). They should be no rules that seek to segregate same-sex unions from opposite-sex unions at all.

  11. I’ve completed the form.

    I also commented that I would consider converting my Civil Partnership to Marriage if it was allowed on a no fee basis under grandfather rights! I hope they take note of that comment as I don’t see why they should try to bleed any more money from me or my husband, the CP ceremony was expensive enough!

  12. Robert in S. Kensington 15 Mar 2012, 11:56am

    A very intelligent, thought out consultation survey. It goes right to the heart of the matter and clearly spells it out for religious denominations who don’t want any part of it.

    I urge everyone to post the consultation form on Facebook, Twitter and make this a tumultuous, positive step towards full civil marriage equality.

  13. A very measured, logically presented consultation. The religious pests at are going to have a hard time getting ’round its wording. They’ll try, of course! :P

  14. Consultation completed.

    I am married (I live in Spain) and it was the same as every other wedding in Spain a Civil matter – yes you can get married in Church but only after the civil bit.

    I identify as a Christian, and I realise that my church does not want to get involved with same sex marriages – that is their decision – all I want is recognition by the state that I am married, not the church.

    There are many in the church however who do not agree with ther leaders, so it will change one day for those who want it to.

  15. A 12 week consultation leaves ample time to introduce marriage equality before the end of 2012.

    Any date after 2012 is unacceptably late.

    1. Hopefully that will be the case.

      12 weeks or consultation to try and make sure they get it as right as possible is not much to ask.

      1. Craig Denney 15 Mar 2012, 3:13pm

        The consultation on same sex marriages in Scotland has just finished and it started on Sep 2nd last year which was 6 months ago.

        Have they guaranteed it will only take 12 weeks?

        1. @Craig

          The closing date for the Scottish consultation was 9 December 2011.

          As far as I know they are still evaluating the 50,000 responses that were received within the time limits. Hopefully that will not take much longer!

          In England the 12 weeks is the period the public and organisations have to respond. Hopefully, Westminster government will expedite their evaluation of the responses they receive with more haste than their Scottish compatriots.

          In any event the positive thing about the Westminster consultation is that government have already decided same sex couples will be able to marry in England – whereas, the consultation in Scotland considered whether that should be permitted at all – leaving the option in Scotland for marriage to be denied to same sex couples.

  16. 12 weeks of homophobia more like. 12 weeks of being attacked by the religious establishment.12 weeks of being attacked by the likes of Melanie Philips, Brian Souter, Christopher Chope et all- all busy stoking the flames!

    1. Indeed. And the fact Denmark did it practically overnight with a government official who has only been in office since October last year makes it even more egregious…

      1. gino meriano 15 Mar 2012, 1:12pm

        The only issue here is that most of the countries in Europe that offer some form of union or marriage are for residents only. Next step is to open the doors in every country in Europe as this has been ignored even though we have been fighting this for over 3 years now

      2. The intrinsic bigotry of such a huge section of the Tory Party is the reason we are being fobbed off until 2015.

        There is absolutely no need for a consuiltation.

        It is a stalling tactic as Callmedave knows full well that the bigotted extremists like David Burrowes will revolt.

        People like David Burrowes belong in the BNP – he needs to be expelled from the Tories. Unless the Tories want to continue to be the party of homophobic extremism of course.

        1. Actually, I think tory bigotry is reason to hope it will happen sooner rather than later. Given that the party leadership is pushing for marriage equality, they’ll want it done soon so that the more bigoted section of their voters have forgotten it by the 2015 general election. The people who will remember it the longest are those who it directly benefits.

          So given that marriage equality must surely happen sooner or later, it’s in the tories best interests to get it over with as quickly as possible.

        2. @dAVID

          No one except you is saying this will happen IN 2015

          Everyone formally involved in this process is saying BEFORE 2015 – you try to manipulate this, but are twisting facts.

        3. Spanner1960 15 Mar 2012, 4:30pm

          Nah! nah! whinge! whinge! All the Tories fault… Blah!
          When will you get off your fcking party political soapbox?
          Your lot had 13 years to fix this and failed dismally, so don’t start moaning if it takes this lot three more, at least they are taking on the Bishops which is more than the last bunch of sanctimonious prats ever did.

  17. gino meriano 15 Mar 2012, 1:07pm

    why be concerned about the church, this is a government move and a move to bring us all closer to equality. For now we should be excited at the change the registration service will offer.

    I am in a Civil Partnership and a Christian, but I wont be changing my partnership to a Civil Marriage

    Also, how about all the opposite sex couples that want a Civil Partnership, should they not be allowed to have this as well, equality works both ways in this consultation

    We should not allow the government to remove Civil Partnerships, as we all need choice

    1. Spanner1960 15 Mar 2012, 2:49pm

      Oh give it a rest! Why should anybody in their right mind wish to be given a second-rate version, particularly when they can get the better version. Scrap CP’s and be done with it.

      1. Agreed. Keeping the dual system means that people genuinely have to make a choice to have a full marriage or a different institution. In other countries, where marriage is the top, anything other than marriage will be seen as lesser than marriage. Therefore anyone in a CP will have a hard time having their CP recognised in other countries because they will be seen to have freely chosen not to be married and gone for a peculiar secondary option instead. Once marriage equality is here, CPs will be viewed as even lower down the ladder than before. They ought to be abolished and people in existing ones be given the right to upgrade for free within a set period of time after which marriage is marriage and that’s the end of it.

        1. Spanner1960 15 Mar 2012, 6:42pm

          Precisely. You have said the nub of what I was struggling to get across.
          We have to be seen as married. This has nothing to do with religion, yet is totally on a par with it, both in respect to the law and to how society perceives us.

  18. Revd. Paul Burrows-Gibson 15 Mar 2012, 1:15pm

    This doesn’t go far enough though- we still being denied a Religious Wedding in a church under the new proposals

    1. Then make that point in the survey. Call for complete religious freedom on the matter, where every organisation gets to choose which ceremonies it can perform on its own premises. Also write to your MP or any members of the Lords asking for an amendment to be tabled should it not appear when this legislation is presented.

      This is not a finalised document at this stage.

    2. Why do you want a religious ceremony when so many Christian’s hate gay people?

      1. Because interpretations of any faith vary between denominations. Take Judaism for example. Reform and Liberal Jews both support marriage equality. Orthodox Judaism does not. Should a Reform Jew therefore forego their religious ceremony because the Orthodox rabbis disapprove?

  19. Why continue to offer Civil Partnerships at all? Surely all that does is open us up to criticism that we want more than equality!!

    They should take the Danish approach. Marriage between same-sex couples on religious premises should be permitted if the religious organisation wants it to occur, but no religious organisation or individual priest/rabbi/etc. will be forced into performing ceremonies.

    1. gino meriano 15 Mar 2012, 1:48pm

      Civil Partnerships is a non religious option, why force religion on anyone – I am happy in my Civill Partnership and would not be changing this to a Civil Marriage – its about choice

      1. Civil marriage isn’t about religion either. That’s what a religious marriage ceremony is, but they’re not being offered to same-sex couples. As an gay atheist, I wouldn’t want a religious marriage ceremony, but I would want a marriage.

        I’d love it someone who favours keeping CPs could try to explain why, as I haven’t heard any arguments that I can even understand, far less that I agree with, which makes me think I’m missing something.

        1. The only viable reason for keeping the definition of CP as I can see it is that our government can then recognise CPs from Ireland, Germany etc. Otherwise I completely agree with you, there doesn’t appear to be a need.

          1. Spanner1960 15 Mar 2012, 2:43pm

            If all CP’s were automatically upgraded to marriage, then allowing foreign couples in with CP’s would be regarded as totally equal and parallel, and should those partners choose to live here, they would also be converted to marriage status.

      2. Then in my view the option of Civil Partnership should be opened up to opposite-sex couples too. I don’t want special treatment, or additional options to those that straight couples have open to them. I want equality under the law.

        1. Spanner1960 15 Mar 2012, 2:42pm

          Yes we should have equality.
          Get rid of them completely, they serve no purpose and are surplus to requirements. We should never have had the bloody things in the first place.

      3. Spanner1960 15 Mar 2012, 2:50pm

        Civil marriage is equally non-religious. It serves no purpose whatsoever keeping both.

  20. Did anyone else get confused by the questions which were phrased along the lines of “the government isn’t planning to do X. Do you agree with this proposal?” – does proposal mean what the government is planning to do or X?

    Either way, I spelled it out in the extra comments section at the end to make sure they got the message.

    1. Mike Pennell 15 Mar 2012, 2:28pm

      I got stuck on Q8 about not going for opposite sex civil partnerships. I couldn’t tell if I had to agree with opposite sex c p or to agree with their not having it. The actual consultation doc explains that you are agreeing/not agreeing with not having opp sex c p!

    2. Yes, I found that confusingly worded too, I still don’t know what it means.

  21. Just filled it in. Man, I can be quite articulate when I want to be :-D

  22. Spanner1960 15 Mar 2012, 2:39pm

    Hugely disappointing.
    This is as much a fudge as the last time.
    CP’s should have been disbanded entirely, and anyone in one automatically upgraded for free. On top of that, religious same-sex marriage ceremonies should be allowed should those organisations wish to hold them.

    All this will do is confuse people, allow the government to make a fast buck and the religionists to say “I told you so” and claim a win.

    1. Originally CPs were not permitted to have any religious content. That came later. I can understand what the government are doing here, but like you I’m fed up with equality being drip fed in order to pacify a bunch of luddites who wouldn’t be satisfied unless the clock rolled back to 1950. The time is right for the final step, as is happening in other countries.

  23. Done! That was rather fun to heh.

  24. Done.
    I have suggested both in the choices and in a rather long comment that the CP should be scrapped and all CP’s automatically upgraded to a CM. This is the way forward, why would anyone choose a second rate CP over a proper marriage?

    1. Equality Network 16 Mar 2012, 8:51am

      Because that’s their choice, and they don’t want you or anyone else forcing them to change what they chose – a CP – to something they didn’t choose – a marriage?

  25. Done and done. That was… actually harder than I expected. I was hoping I would get more of those write-in boxes, as I don’t believe “yes” or “no” quite covered what I thought about some of the questions. Also, it bugged me that they only included questions for trans people who are already married. This consultation would also affect me as a gay trans man who is still “legally female”, but I’m not married…

  26. Unless whatever happens is equal for everybody, irrespective of sexual mix, then it will remain afterwards still legal difference.

  27. I’ve read it again and it is still a fudge.
    Unless and until all options are open to all people of whatever sexual mix then it will still be legal discrimination.
    eg Why should same sex couple be able to conver their CP to Marriage but mixed sex couples be unable to convert in reverse.
    It’ll still be a c**k up, and a half way house isn’t good enough.

  28. I wonder about the value of this ‘survey’ – unlike other polls I wasn’t asked for my name or contact details, and there seems no restrictions on how many times I could fill it in. I wonder how many times Christians posing as gays will be voting against the proposal. I’m sure the Mormons would be happy to lend a hand as they did with Prop 8 in California..

    1. I believe it does recognise your ISP address. (or whatever the technical term is!)

      1. Spanner1960 15 Mar 2012, 6:46pm

        IP Address, and I doubt it. Plus even if it did, there are many ways to fake false ones.
        All in all, not very secure, but then as they said, this is a consultation, not a vote.

        1. I just experimented and tried to complete it for a second time and got this message:

          “You have already completed this survey!
          Our records show that this survey has previously been completed from this PC.
          This survey only allows respondents to complete it once.”

          It’s probably not 100% secure – but it is indeed a consultation!

          1. So this week’s mass won’t see the RC’s shipping in a PC for each Church and asking people to fill in the petition then? O dear :P

    2. They’ll be able to spot the fundies easily enough. Repetitive text cut and pasted from the C4M’s propaganda material.

  29. I agree on

    -enabling same-sex couples to get married through civil ceremonies.
    -retaining civil partnerships for same-sex couples, including the ability to have a civil partnership registration on religious premises (on a voluntary basis and retaining the ban on any religious elements forming part of the registration)
    -making no changes to how religious marriages are solemnized
    -allowing gay couples to convert their civil partnerships to marriages if they choose to

    I also think that heterosexual couples should be able to get civil partnerships

  30. Haven’t read the consultation yet but lots of things aren’t very logical…

    Can’t possibly see the HoL or anyone agreeing to continuing new CPs for gays only…surely someone like Baroness O’Catholic of Homophobe would say that would fail on equality grounds in the EU and the whole bill thrown out.

    Also can’t see how gays could only be offered one flavour of marriage when in fact two flavours of marriages are availbe in the UK…surely that’s not going to get thru the HoL on equality grounds…

    I’m pleased to see the consultation but the above 2 issues can’t realy be sweeped under the carpet, surely?

  31. Is there a background doc anywhere that spells out the difference between CPs and marriage? When they introduced CPs, they went banging on about how it was all the rights of marriage – so isn’t it?

    1. Unfortunately it isn’t, I still have to pay a national insurance stamp for my civil partner that has secondary cancer, a ‘hetrosexual couple rely on their husband for benefits etc, and no need to pay a ni stamp. Civil Partnerships are not recognised outside England and Wales, burial rights are denied within consecrated ground and many priests or vicars will not officiate at a funeral of a Gay partner.

  32. http://www.abouttime.org.uk/

    Seems LGBT lib dems have issued the above as guidance to how to answer ?????

  33. can’t we just stop doing any new CPs when we get civil marriage and just allow people to keep their old ones if they want to.

    Personally I would update on the first day it became legal…

  34. The consultation is geared towards LGBT people and annoyingly the churches yet we’re the ones being asked whether straights should be allowed to do CPs.

    Surely asking whether straight CPs should be allowed should be directed to straight couples and not us?

    I’m going to answer not sure since as far as I know there isn’t a big demand for it,,,the British CP is a mimick of marriage for gays and I don’t know why anybody would want it, particulary straight people…

  35. Justice will prevail … :o))))

  36. PLEASE VOTE HERE TOO:

    Within the midst of an offensive report in the Telegraph there is a poll being run on marriage (please vote and demonstrate the strength of feeling!).

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9147559/Gay-couples-are-just-lifelong-friends-says-Catholic-leader.html?

    Within the article, the RC church are at it again and saying gay relationships are merely friendships. Devalue, dehumanise, substandard treatment – the usual rhetoric of the Archbishops.

    PLEASE VOTE IN THEIR POLL FOR EQUAL MARRIAGE!

    1. Dave North 16 Mar 2012, 9:00am

      Much of the comments bile in this rag and the DM amounts to hate speech in my opinion.

      I feel a lawsuit coming on as they are allowing it to be published.

    2. Wouldn’t you agree that we are in a better position to tell the RC church what same-sex marriage is, rather than have the hierarchy tell us what it should be?

      The same applies to being gay. I am gay; I’ll tell the RC church what it means to be gay, not the other way round.

  37. Report on Channel 4 News (15th March 2012)

    http://goo.gl/lAr5p

  38. NO WAY!!!
    Marriage IS relationshio between ONE man and ONE woman!

    See
    c4m.org.uk

    and

    epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/30374

    1. Hi Peter, I’m a Christian straight man, and I don’t approve either the government legislation or the petition you refer to. Whatever our feelings about marriage, gays have a right to our tolerance and equality before the law. I don’t like the state granting the sacrament of marriage given that this is a controversial faith issue. I also think that religious and similar community organisations which qualify to register marriages should be able to marry whoever the can support in marriage regardless of gender. So marriage and partnership should have the same legal status, the state should register partnership and not call this marriage, while those seeking marriage should be able to find a community which is happy to register this and willing to support them in their relationship.

  39. Marriage as a word should be protected to define a life long committment between a man and a woman for procreation of the species – something that a same sex couple cannot do, and thus requires a different classification term from a civil partnership.
    Enough – there is a line where same sex couples CANNOT have equality !

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