Call for marriage equality ahead of royal wedding

By staff writers
26 Apr 2011

Supporters of the Equal Love campaign presented a giant wedding card outside Buckingham Palace yesterday (25 April), as they urged the royal wedding couple to endorse marriage equality for same-sex couples.

As well as wishing the couple “congratulations” and “a happy life together”, the campaigners highlighted the ban on same-sex civil marriage. Cupcakes with Equal Love logos were handed out to tourists and passers-by. Dozens of people signed the card.

The campaigners included Rev Sharon Ferguson, chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. She was joined by human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, co-ordinator of the Equal Love campaign.

“Kate and William had a choice,” said Tatchell, “Same-sex couples don’t have this choice. We are banned from marriage by law.”

He added, “In democratic society, we should all be equal before the law. The ban on gay marriage is discrimination and should be repealed.”

The campaigners described the public response as “amazingly supportive”.

“Everyone outside the palace expressed support for marriage equality,” said Tatchell, “We didn’t get a single negative reaction”.

The Equal Love campaign was kicked off last year, when four same-sex couples applied for permission to marry, while four mixed-sex couples attempted to register a civil partnership. All were turned down. In February, they filed a joint application in the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that the law is discriminatory.

The law currently restricts same-sex couples to a civil partnership, which may not include the language of marriage or involve religious elements.

The government has announced that they plan to implement a clause in the Equality Act that will allow religious elements in civil partnerships, but they have not set a timetable for doing so. The clause makes clear that the provision is entirely optional and that no faith group will be obliged to carry out ceremonies in which they do not believe.

[Ekk/1]

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