Lynne Featherstone graces the pages of the Telegraph yesterday. I’m sure that some of their more socially conservative readers choked on their English Breakfast tea, but her article is definitely worth reading. The photo of Lynne the editor has chosen, of her pointing her finger, stern faced during a speech, will no doubt have added to their angst.
It’s all about the forthcoming consultation on equal marriage. What she says is very sensible.
The fierce debate over the past few weeks has shown people feel very strongly about marriage. Some believe the Government has no right to change it at all; they want to leave tradition alone. I want to challenge that view – it is the Government’s fundamental job to reflect society and to shape the future, not stay silent where it has the power to act and change things for the better.
I believe that if a couple love each other and want to commit to a life together, they should have the option of a civil marriage, irrespective of whether they are gay or straight.
Scotland has, of course, already has its consultation on equal marriage and we are awaiting the Scottish Government’s response. Up here, the Government included the option to allow religious organisations who want to conduct marriage ceremonies for same sex couples to do so. There is not even the slightest whimper in favour of compelling them to do so from the most fervent supporter of equal marriage.
The Equality Network up here co-ordinated around 23000 positive responses to the consultation. It took some effort, but hopefully the same effort will be put in south of the border.
This is yet another good thing that the Liberal Democrats have brought to the Coalition.