Lib Dems first party to support gay marriages

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Liberal Democrats made political history yesterday when they became the first mainstream political party to back gay marriage as part of their campaign to achieve greater equality before the law.

Liberal Democrats made political history yesterday when they became the first mainstream political party to back gay marriage as part of their campaign to achieve greater equality before the law.

Delegates overwhelmingly backed a motion that would ensure homosexual and heterosexual couples were treated the same under the law over inheritance, adoption and property rights.

Susan Kramer, the party's former mayoral candidate, gained rapturous applause when she appealed to the British public to support the measure because the current law was "simply not fair. Surely middle England would agree that such discrimination before the law is not fair," she said. Ms Kramer added that gay and lesbian couples were equally as suited to form long-term, monogamous relationships as heterosexuals.

Arnie Gibbens, from Leicester South, made an emotional plea to delegates to support the ground-breaking motion when he explained that he and his American partner were prevented from living in the United States because they could not marry. "We have exchanged rings in New York and now we want to have a piece of paper saying that we have the same rights as married people."

The motion called for the establishment of civil partnerships for gay and straight couples. "Any two unrelated people over 16 should be allowed to enter into a civil partnership in order to organise their common life." The civil partnership, which has already been adopted into law by other European countries, would be based on the legal effects and duties of marriage.

Ms Kramer added: "There are already several countries in the Continent which have adopted the concept of a civil relationship."

Sarah Bedford, from Watford, said the Liberal Democrats' campaign to change the law was equal to the fight to abolish section 28, which bans the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities. However, some delegates expressed disappointment that the motion did not include an outright call for "gay marriages". Vanessa Dowell, from Kensington and Chelsea, said: "This motion is seriously inequitable and unclear." She also criticised it for failing to mention the rights of related people who wanted to have a civil relationship.

Dr Evan Harris, the MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, said recent research proved that children of homosexual couples were just as adjusted as heterosexual couples.

"There are no differences in their gender identities or sexual identities between children who were brought up by gay or lesbian couples to those who were brought up by straight couples." He added: "We have sought to add amendments to several Bills in Parliament to ensure equality before the law, which were thrown out by the Government every time."

Simon Morrow, from east Surrey, said: "My partner and I have a joint Sainsbury's Reward card but if I am in hospital on a life support system, he cannot decide whether to switch it off. Please support this change of law in principle."

Comments