Stonewall today publishes a draft parliamentary bill for extending the legal form of marriage to gay people. The Bill outlines the legislative steps necessary to give effect to a policy now supported by all party leaders.
Lynne Featherstone MP, the equalities minister, promised last September that formal consultation on extending the legal form of marriage to gay people would begin in March 2012. The proposal has been supported by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband.
‘We trust that the government will go ahead with its promised consultation by the end of March,’ said Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive. ‘We also trust that the government will publish a White Paper, consulting on the detail of how to implement its proposal, and not a Green Paper which merely consults on the wider principle. This simple two-page Bill of five clauses need not occupy a significant amount of parliamentary time. It could easily be included in the Queen’s Speech in May.’
The Scottish Government has already announced that it intends to extend the legal form of marriage to same-sex couples. If it goes ahead, new legislation tabled in Westminster would only need to apply to England and Wales.The draft Extension of Marriage to Same-Sex Couples Bill 2012 is online and can be downloaded here.
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