Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Next Just Get me to the Church on Time #LDConf

I'm really delighted that my fellow Liberal Democrats earlier today passed the Equal Marriage in the UK motion at conference.

However, sitting here watching it both me and Mícheál were struck by the anti speeches. Now we know our constitution says we shouldn't be enslaved by ignorance but there is a certain amount of reading what the motion actually says that seems to have been ignored. Point 2 of what conference calls for says (emphasis mine)

To allow approved religious and humanist who wish to do so to legally solemnise and celebrate same-sex marriage and civil partnerships in places of religious worship.

The reason I emphasised it that key phrase is that is the key phrase that make this a liberal motion. We are not forcing churches, synagogues, mosques etc to carry out same-sex marriages what we are doing in this motion is enabling them to do so if they wish. If they wish! Yes Kieran who wrote the initial motion for Scottish Conference on which this was based is an atheist, but he consulted with me about getting the religious element carefully dealt with. That little phrase was what between us we came up with to make in a liberal enabling motion rather than a draconian forcing religious groups under their various governances to have to change to accommodate.

I've said before that we are a liberal party but we also must allow religious freedom. As liberal we may not aways agree with the utterances or stances that they take but we have to respect their right to hold them, as long as they do not infringe on others. This motion fully meets my expectation of what a Liberal Democrat motion will entail.

For the record this Northern Irish friend of Sara Bedford was cheering every line of her speech. She'd done her research and asked gay friends of faith and none how they felt about it. It made up for the fact that my speech never got to be heard outside of my room despite two opportunities I could have done so.

But this in only the first step, we now have it as policy now we have to make it government legislation, so we can all start to plan those marriages.

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