for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality

Stonewall Scotland welcomes Westminster pledge on ‘Alli amendment’

Disappointment that measures won’t yet extend to Scotland 

Stonewall Scotland today welcomed confirmation that the Westminster government is to implement the ‘Alli amendment’ which will permit the celebration of civil partnerships in religious buildings in England and Wales for the first time. The cross-party amendment to the Equality Act was supported in the House of Lords by a majority of 74. Stonewall Scotland expressed disappointment that the measures don’t yet extend to Scotland and called on the Scottish government to address this urgently.

The Westminster government will now consult on the practical arrangements for those denominations – including the Quakers, Liberal Judaism and the Unitarian Church – who have said they wish to celebrate civil partnerships on their premises.

‘We’re delighted that both parties in the new Westminster government have committed to introducing this important measure of religious freedom for those denominations in England and Wales wishing to celebrate civil partnerships,’ said Carl Watt, Stonewall Scotland Director.  ‘However, we are deeply disappointed that the same denominations in Scotland and same sex couples in Scotland might be left behind.’

Stonewall Scotland also expressed disappointment that the Westminster government is not yet starting consultation on the extension of marriage to same sex couples. ‘Stonewall Scotland fully supports extension of the legal form of marriage to lesbian and gay couples for those religious organisations or denominations wishing to offer an equal service to all followers,’ said Carl Watt. ‘We see absolutely no reason why the Scottish goverment should wait for Westminster, they could consult immediately on this equality issue.’

Notes

  • Stonewall Scotland works to achieve equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
  • The Lord Alli amendment to the Equality Bill, to permit civil partnerships in religious premises in England and Wales, was passed in March 2010 by a majority of 74 votes. Crossbencher Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, Conservative Baroness Noakes and LibDem Baroness Neuberger supported Lord Alli’s amendment. The changes do not yet apply to Scotland.
  • The law currently bans civil partnership ceremonies on religious premises. The legal form of marriage is currently only available to opposite-sex couples.

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