By Peter Saunders, CMF

Fifteen months ago Gay Rights activist group Stonewall did not have a position on same sex marriage but this week they have published a bill calling for its full legalisation just weeks before the government issues a consultation paper on how it should be done.

The two-page bill lists five legislative steps it says are necessary and Stonewall is calling upon the government to publish a White Paper, consulting on the detail of how to implement its proposal, and not a Green Paper which would simply consult on the wider principle.

The draft bill (see full text) includes exemptions for religious institutions, and seeks to retain civil partnerships for same sex couples, but not to introduce them for heterosexual couples. This would leave same sex couples with two options – civil partnership or marriage – but opposite sex couples with only one – marriage.

The draft bill also amends the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 to remove the terms ‘husband and wife’ and replace them with ‘parties to a marriage’.

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