The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) has declared its firm backing for a new campaign that plans legal action to secure recognition of same-sex marriage in the UK.
The Equal Love campaign, which was launched yesterday (26 October), includes both religious and non-religious people. The campaigners say that the choice of marriage or civil partnership should be open to both same-sex and mixed-sex couples.
In a statement following the launch of the campaign, LGCM said, “Whilst we respect and honour the decision of all couples who have entered into a civil partnership, it is only befitting that we should be campaigning for marriage”.
They added, “We are a Christian organisation and recognise that many Christians hold a deep conviction that marriage is ordained by God for the nurturance of all people called to this vocation”.
LGCM's Chief Executive, Rev Sharon Ferguson, has put herself at the forefront of the Equal Love campaign. She and her partner will next week attempt to register for a marriage at Greenwich Register Office in London, where they will almost certainly be refused.
They are one of four same-sex couples from around the UK who will make this attempt. At the same times, four mixed-sex couples will apply for civil partnerships After all eight couples have been refused, they will launch a legal challenge over the issue.
LGCM said they “totally support” Ferguson's attempt to marry.
“Both marriage and civil partnerships should be available to all couples regardless of gender,” insisted LGCM, “The choice of how to celebrate this lifelong commitment should belong to the couple, not the state”.
They added, “LGCM strongly believes that the current system, only allowing people either a marriage or a civil partnership, based solely on the gender of the person they love is a form of sexual second-class citizenship”.
Critics may point out that LGCM backed the introduction of civil partnerships in 2005. But in their statement yesterday, the Movement insisted that “it was a hard decision for the organisation to agree to the introduction of civil partnerships in 2005 but, at the time, the protection and legal rights that were offered were too great to risk by holding out for full equality. However, the time is now right to press forward once again.”
Opponents of campaigns for same-sex marriage argue that the idea undermines the sanctity of marriage. But organisations such as LGCM insist that it is their belief in that sanctity that prompts them to campaign for marriage equality.