Greens back gay marriage
10 October 2004
The ban on same-sex marriage is discriminatory and divisive, says the GreenParty as the House of Commons prepares to debate the Civil Partnership Billthis week (on Tuesday 12 October).
Jean Lambert MEP (Green Party, London) said today: "The recognition ofsame-sex marriages is a vital step towards ending legally-sanctionedhomophobic discrimination. If MPs are serious about social justice, theymust allow gay marriages and end another facet of the UK's institutionalhomophobia. Stopping people from making a public and lifelong commitment toone other just seems perverse."
Darren Johnson AM, a Green Party member of the London Assembly and one ofBritain's most high-profile openly-gay politicians, added: "Whether marriageor civil partnership, the options should be open to everyone, regardless ofsexual orientation."
And Peter Tatchell, leading gay human rights campaigner and Green Partymember, added: "Excluding gay couples from marriage is an affront todemocracy and human rights. Denying people the right to marry because oftheir sexual orientation violates the European Convention on Human Rights,which states that every adult person has a right to marry."
Peter Tatchell continued: "The Civil Partnership Bill creates a form ofsexual apartheid, with one law for heterosexuals and another for gays.Same-sex couples are excluded from marriage and opposite-sex partners areexcluded from civil partnerships. This is not equality. It reinforces andperpetuates discrimination," he said.
The Greens are endorsing the Coalition for Marriage Equality - a network ofgay and humanist groups who oppose the government's "second best" CivilPartnership Bill. The Bill denies same-sex partners the same pension rightsas married heterosexuals.
The CfME is backed by nearly all non-party political gay groups, includingOutRage!, the Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association, Queer Youth Alliance andthe Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.
Urging an end to the ban, the Greens are the first UK political party tosupport the campaign for gay civil marriage.
Step in right direction - but not far enough
Keith Taylor, the Green Party's Principal Speaker, said:Keith Taylor, the Green Party Convemor, said: "While the Civil Partnership Bill is a welcome first step, it doesn't offer true equality for gay people - it creates a new form of legislative discrimination." Referring to the Green Party's Real Progress slogan, he added: "Gay equality would be real progress."
Cllr Taylor, one of the strong Green Party group on Brighton & Hovecouncil - a city with 30,000 gay voters - continued: "It would be far betterif the government took a principled stand by ending the inequality inherentin marriage law. Giving lesbian and gay people marriage rights is theethical thing to do," he said.
Caroline Lucas MEP (Green Party, South East England), the party's otherPrincipal Speaker, added: "Greens have been at the forefront of pushing theEU's anti-discrimination agenda. As an MEP I have campaigned for therecognition of same-sex marriages across the EU - and there is no excuse forthe UK maintaining its discriminatory and outdated position."