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James Stewart: Marriage equality for same-sex couples is a "no brainer"

Date:8 FEB 2013

James StewartI like many family lawyers welcome the House of Commons' approval of same-sex marriage in England and Wales. Whilst it can be argued that civil partnerships introduced by the Civil Partnership Act 2004 are marriages by another name the distinction between the two institutions and the inability of same-sex couples to marry is discriminatory. This view appears to underpin the legislation which has been introduced at a time when much of the western world is moving in favour of full marriage equality.

Even traditionally conservative countries such as Spain have had marriage equality for a number of years. The United States is a jurisdiction where successive administrations have been beholden to the religious right  but President Obama outlining his administration's civil rights agenda on 21st January said "our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like everyone else under the law...for if we are truly created equal then surely the love we commit to one...

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