Yom Shabbat, 15 AdarI 5781
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Warm welcome for equal marriage vote

6 February 2013

Liberal Judaism is delighted that ALL our members will soon have the right to get legally married by a rabbi in England or Wales, after an overwhelming vote in the House of Commons in favour of equal marriage.

Four hundred MPs voted for the historic bill, which will let same-sex couples marry in those religious institutions that choose to hold ceremonies.

It follows a long campaign by Liberal Judaism, and other progressive religions – including Quakers, Unitarians and now Reform Judaism - for full equality. During that time, Liberal Judaism produced (in 2005) the first liturgy for same-sex ceremonies and held meetings with senior politicians and public figures.

Meanwhile in Scotland, a second public consultation is underway to explore the details of legalising equal marriage, after an initial consultation in 2011 resulted in a resolution to introduce such a bill in principle. Liberal Judaism’s members and friends across the UK are invited to take part by visiting: http://www.equalmarriage.org.uk/consultation. Liberal Judaism will be involved in giving evidence to the Scottish review later this year, and is writing to all MPs to put forward our case for allowing us, and other religions who choose to do so, to be allowed to officiate at legal religious weddings for all couples.

Liberal Judaism chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich said: “This is primarily a matter of justice. Liberal Judiasm values marriage and is delighted the proposal will offer marriage to more people who want it."

All three leaders of the major British political parties supported the bill, which is now expected to pass through the House of Lords and become law.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Strong views exist on both sides but I believe MPs voting for gay people being able to marry too, is a step forward for our country."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg added: “I genuinely believe that we will look back on today as a landmark for equality in Britain. No matter who you are and who you love, we are all equal. Marriage is about love and commitment, and it should no longer be denied to people just because they are gay."

Leader of The Opposition Ed Miliband also gave strong backing to the bill, saying: "This is a proud day and an important step forward in the fight for equality in Britain.”