STALYBRIDGE and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds will today vote in favour of legislation that could introduce civil marriage for same sex couples.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was introduced to Parliament by the Government on January 24. It will return to the House of Commons today (Tuesday 5 February, 2013) for its Second Reading and further debate.
As well as introducing civil marriage for same sex couples, the Bill would enable civil partners to convert their partnership into a marriage and it would enable married transsexual people to gain legal recognition in their acquired gender, without having to end their marriage.
The Bill would also enable religious organisations to opt in to conduct same sex marriages if they wish to do so. However it does include provisions intended to protect religious organisations and individuals from being forced to conduct same sex marriages.
MP Jonathan Reynolds – who has been contacted by a significant number of constituents with a broad range of views on this issue – believes the Bill is a welcome extension of equal rights. And he hopes the legislation will pass through the Second Reading with a strong majority.
“This Bill is an important step forward in the extension of equal rights – and I will be proud to support it in the House of Commons,” said Mr Reynolds.
“For me marriage is incredibly important – and not to be taken lightly or flippantly. It is a commitment that marks the point when two people publically declare they are no longer only individuals, but two halves of a committed partnership.
“Of course, there are people who have equally committed partnerships without the need or desire for marriage.
“Yet for many of us the commitment of marriage is important – and I can see no reason why the extension of this right to same sex couples can be anything other than a positive step forward.”
Mr Reynolds also points out that the changes in the Bill would not place any obligation on religious institutions. This is a permissive law that will enable those churches which do wish to carry out same sex marriages to do so.
More information about the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill can be found athttp://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2013/february/mps-debate-marriage-same-sex-couples-bill-/
Published 4 February, 2013