Coalition statement on equal marriage

The Coalition is delighted that David Cameron has said the government’s proposals on equal marriage will include an option for ceremonies to take place on religious premises.

This outcome concurs with our own submission to the government’s consultation, and those of our partner organizations.

It is a matter of regret that the latest official Church of England response makes absolutely no mention of the breadth of views on this matter within the Church itself.

Print version [PDF].

Making space for an honest conversation (keynote address)

Keynote address: “Making space for an honest conversation”, by Nick Holtam

“In British society, the game is up. Gay people are equal members of our society”, said Nick Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, to the 3rd Cutting Edge Consortium conference, 21 April 2012.

…”So, increasingly, there is an evangelical imperative for the Church to recognise that covenantal same sex relationships can be Godly and good for individuals and society; that they are at least like marriage for heterosexuals, and this is a development that many Christians in good faith warmly welcome. For LGBT people it raises a question about whether marriage is what they want, but for us as a Church there are things to affirm in this development.

It is a disaster that we have allowed the Church to be seen as the opposition to equal civil marriage”.

Full address [PDF].
Commentthe Daily Telegraph

LGBT lives: achieving our equality…

Cutting edge

3rd Cutting Edge Consortium conference:
LGBT lives: achieving our equality – challenging faith-based homophobia & transphobia.

The 3rd Faith & Belief, Homophobia, Transphobia & Human Rights Conference 2012 will take place on Saturday, 21 April 2012, at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL, 10:00–17:00.

Speakers will include Nick Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury; Aidan O’Neill QC from Matrix Chambers; and Angela Eagle MP, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons. Andrew Copson from the British Humanist Association; and Sarah Veale, Head of Equality at the TUC; Phyllis Opoku-Gymah PCS and Black PRIDE; and Jennifer Moses from NASUWT the education Union will also address the Conference.

Conference Leaflet [PDF].

Registration [CEC website], [email CEC] or CEC, PO Box 24632, London E9 6XF

Advancing Transgender Equality: a plan for action

Launch of the Government Equalities Office document, “Advancing Transgender Equality: a plan for action”

On 4 December, the Government Equalities Office launched the first ever cross-Government action plan to advance transgender equality – “Advancing transgender equality: a plan for action”. It lays out the vision and the focus for commitment to deliver equality for transgender people. A copy of the plan may be accessed through the gndr website: gndr.org.uk/transgender

Government’s civil partnerships on religious premises consultation

The Coalition, LGCM and Changing Attitude have submitted responses to the Government’s CP Consultation. We need as many people as possible to reinforce our arguments and we encourage you to submit your own response.

The Consultation document itself and the form are both lengthy! We have prepared brief responses to the key questions. You’re welcome to read everything and respond to all the questions but if you’re short of time, use the ideas contained in the link below to make a quick response. Change the “I” to “we” as appropriate.

Suggested responses [PDF].
The Consultation [gov.uk]

The deadline for responses is 23 June 2011.

Please go to this site now and send your response – it will make a difference and encourage the Government to be radical in preparing the final legislation.

Tribute to Sonia Jardiniere

Sonia Jardiniere (also known as Sonia Burgess) died at approximately 6:30pm on 25 October 2010 after she was seen to have been pushed under a tube train at King’s Cross Station. Sonia was a transgendered woman. Her alleged assailant who has been charged with murder is an asylum seeker and is also another transgendered woman.

Sonia was the finest immigration lawyer of her generation and was responsible for a number of trailblazing cases. She has also made an enormous, though largely hidden contribution to the integration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people into the mainstream Anglican Church.

On the 7th July 2010 the UK Supreme Court in a unanimous judgment ruled that homosexual asylum seekers should be granted refugee status if going home would result in them being forced to conceal their sexuality. Sonia posted a report on the case on the Sibyl’s Group Website which can also be accessed via the link below:

Obituary [PDF]the Guardian, 2 November 2010
Address given at Sonia’s Funeral [PDF]17 November 2010
Observer article [PDF]9 January 2011
Tribute, and Sonia’s report on the Supreme Court judgement [PDF]