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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Departure of Lynne Featherstone from Equalities Office raises uncertainty about equal marriage

The departure of Lynne Featherstone from her position as Minister for Equalities will raise uncertainty about equal marriage plans.

Lynne Featherstone has driven forward the Coalition’s policy on equal marriage and is to be congratulated. I wish her well in her new post at the Department of Department of International Development. Homosexual acts are still illegal in 78 countries and the rights of women need to be promoted in all parts of the world.

This is a crucial time for the Coalition’s proposals on equal marriage. The consultation is closed and we await the Government’s response later this year. This change of Equalities Minister will therefore bring uncertainty which will be enhanced by the move of responsibilities for the women and equalities portfolio from the Home Office to the Department of Culture Media and Sport.

Recently there have been indications that the Government may bring forward proposals to allow equal religious marriage for faiths who wish to pursue this as well as equal civil marriage and I hope that this more positive approach is not quietly rolled back.

The Deputy Prime Minister is holding a Reception next week (11 September 2012 at 1 Carlton Gardens) to mark the Government’s “historic consultation on equal civil marriage”. I, and other liberal faith leaders who will be attending, will use this opportunity to continue to press for equal religious marriage.

1 comment:

  1. The appointment of Maria Miller with responsibility for equalities with Helen Grant in the post formerly held by Lynne Featherstone may act as a brake on the precipitate introduction of legislation,whatever the result of the consultation ; Maria Miller has been reticent in this are in the past and Helen Grant's views are unknown ; she has obviously been appointed to focus primarily on issues of ethnic discrimination.The PM may well be looking at the result of the forthcoming Corby by-election ( a Conservative marginal)before the drafting of a bill ; for those of us within Unitarian circles who feel that gay marriage has become too dominant a theme in the denomination recently, the reshuffle may bring more time and space for reflection.