Standing up for marriage equality

THE GREEN Party has welcomed yesterday’s vote to legalise gay marriage as a “historic moment”.

The vote in the House of Commons passed by 400 to 175 votes, with the latter including 136 Conservative MPs – almost half of the party.

Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, said: “Yesterday’s vote in the House of Commons for gay marriage marks a historic moment in the progress of equality in Britain. With the large Commons majority of 225, the elected representatives have spoken, and the House of Lords has no grounds for resistance.”

Britain has joined other progressive states, including Sweden, Denmark, Canada and Belgium, in giving gay couples an equal right to marry as that enjoyed by heterosexual couples.

“Our Green MP Caroline Lucas was also leading in yesterday’s debate, making the point that now there’s a further equality issue be tackled. MPs have acknowledged that civil partnerships don’t meet all couples’ needs – now they need to go a step further, and acknowledge that marriage doesn’t meet the needs of all heterosexual couples.”

“There can be no logical grounds for denying heterosexual couples the option of civil partnership as created under the Civil Partnership Act of 2004 – a simple, legal step that can resolve issues around child custody, inheritance, pension rights and a whole host of other issues.

“There’s a further important issue to be addressed – an issue of education and understanding. There is no such thing as “common law marriage” in Britain, yet it’s a phrase that you’ll hear bandied about regularly, and a false belief in its existence has had severe financial and emotional consequences for many .

“There’s also a recognised problem around inheritance when an unformalised partnership ends with the death of an intestate partner – a lot of work has been done around this issue; now’s the time for action

“We live in a world of many different family arrangements – what we need to do is to give couples a range of legal tools (and full understanding of them) so that they can have security and certainty about the shape of their family life, and real choices about how to construct it.

We took an important step forward yesterday – now we need to complete the work.

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