Royal wedding couple urged to back same-sex marriage

By staff writers
20 Apr 2011

Campaigners plan to gather outside Buckingham Palace a few days before next week’s royal wedding to call on the couple to support marriage equality for gay and bisexual people.

The Equal Love campaign stress that the gathering is neither a celebration of monarchy nor a protest against the wedding but rather a means of highlighting the discriminatory nature of marriage law in the UK.

They will hold a “celebration” in front of Buckingham Palace on Monday 25 April, a bank holiday, from noon until 2.00pm.

"We plan to deliver a giant wedding card to William and Kate,” explained co-ordinator Peter Tatchell, “As well as wishing the royal couple every happiness, we will highlight the fact that William and Kate can marry, but same-sex couples can't”.

Since 2005, same-sex couples in the UK have been given the legal right to a civil partnership. While this confers almost exactly the same legal rights as a marriage, the language of marriage is not allowed and no religious elements are permitted.

The Equal Love campaign argue that both civil marriage and civil partnership should be options to available to both same-sex and mixed-sex couples.

"Our event will urge the royal couple to support moves to end the ban on gay marriage,” explained Tatchell, “We want equal marriage rights for all couples, regardless of sexual orientation”.

He added, “Kate and William had a choice. They could get married, or not. Same-sex couples don't have this choice. We are banned from marriage by law.”

The campaigners emphasise that all are welcome at the event, whatever their sexuality or views on monarchy or marriage.

Tatchell said the event will be “an affirmation of our opposition to discrimination in marriage law. We want to show our support for the right of everyone to be able to choose whether or not to get married.”

The Equal Love campaign began last year, when four same-sex couples applied for a civil marriage, while four mixed-sex couples sought to register a civil partnership. Now that all eight couples have been refused, they have begun the process of challenging the discrimination in the courts.

"We wish William and Kate every happiness,” said Tatchell, “May they have a joyful marriage and a wonderful married life together”.

He added, “We urge Kate and William to support marriage equality: the right of same-sex couples to get married. Their support would mean a lot.”

The government have confirmed that they will push ahead with implementing a clause in last year’s Equality Act that will allow same-sex civil partnerships to be held on religious premises. No timetable has been given for introducing the change.

It has been opposed by certain groups who claim that churches may be taken to court if they refuse to carry out same-sex ceremonies. Critics point out that the wording of the law makes very clear that the provision is optional.

[Ekk/1]

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