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Celebrating 5 years of same-sex marriage

March 29, 2019 12:00 PM
By Richard Flowers and Alex Wilcock
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Most people meet and get married within a few years, but not us. We got married on our twentieth anniversary. We had to wait 20 years before we could tie the knot, not because we didn't want to, but because to do so before 2014 would have been unlawful.

Throughout the years the LGBT community has been marginalised, demonised and ignored

The first same-sex marriages took place 5 years ago today, opening marriage to people irrespective of whether they fall in love with someone of the same sex or opposite sex. Like us, many same-sex couples had to wait years for this change, and it was a hard-won right that came as a result of years of protesting and campaigning.

Throughout the years the LGBT community has been marginalised, demonised and ignored but we are proud to be part of a party that has never shied away from speaking up for what is just and right.

In the 1980s the Liberal Democrats were the first party to openly oppose Section 28 - an act which prohibited the so-called promotion of homosexuality. In 2001 we produced the first-ever Manifesto for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People. But the Liberal Democrats didn't stop there, we proposed civil partnerships at a time when many opposed them. And in 2013, the Same Sex Marriage Act was introduced because of the hard work of Lynne Featherstone in coalition government.

Thank you to the Liberal Democrats for changing the law so we could get married.

It's difficult the overstate the impact of this act for same-sex couples. Thousands have been able to get married and our unions now given equal worth and equal respect as mixed-sex couples. This would not have been possible without the Liberal Democrats.

It's clear to both of us that only one party will stand up for absolute equality, without exception; Liberal Democrats. Liberal Democrats today are still standing up for marriage rights for trans people and standing against any new form of Section 28 bullying LGBT kids. We oppose inequality and oppression. We always have and always will. Thank you to the Liberal Democrats for changing the law so we could get married. We had to wait twenty years to get married; some of them Tory years, some of them Labour years. Without the Liberal Democrats in Government, we'd still be waiting.