LGBT+ Liberal Democrats have welcomed the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013 which received Royal Assent this afternoon.
Adrian Trett, Chair, said “This is an historic step for equal rights for same-sex couples in this country. Despite some of the usual suspects’ attempts to derail the legislation, it has received support from across the political spectrum.
“While the Act still falls short of Liberal Democrat policy in several areas, it nonetheless removes a major barrier and cause of discrimination for lesbian, gay and bisexual people in same-sex relationships in England and Wales.
“I am particularly proud that the tone of the debate from supporters was joyful and positive, particularly the vigils outside Parliament that our newly-engaged vice-chair Ed Fordham co-ordinated.”
LGBT+ Liberal Democrats paid special tribute to Nick Clegg, whose personal support for marriage equality predates the Lib Dems becoming the first major party with the policy; Lynne Featherstone, the Lib Dem equalities minister who oversaw the consultation; Stephen Williams and Stephen Gilbert who were on the Bill Committee, and Baronesses Liz Barker and Sal Brinton who championed the bill in the Lords. Trett added, “Thanks to the Lib Dems, there was a Government majority to carry this party through the house, with welcome support from most sides.”
Sarah Brown, chair of the Trans Working Group, said, “While welcoming the Act in general, we are disappointed that it awards a veto over official recognition of a trans person’s gender to their spouse. This has now created a situation in law where one partner to a marriage can, with the state’s collusion, withhold rights such as workplace protection to the other partner if they happen to be transgender. We would like a rapid review of this, and other problematic treatment of trans people by this act, and will also seek to remove the equivalent provisions from the Scottish Bill.”
LGBT+ Liberal Democrats will now work with Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, to seek improvements to the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill.