Vicky Foxcroft – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Vicky Foxcroft on 2015-10-09.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that same-sex marriages are recognised in all Commonwealth countries; and what (a) meetings and (b) correspondence he has had on this issue.

Mr David Lidington

Our High Commissions continue to lobby at the highest levels on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights, particularly in countries where same-sex relations are criminalised. The UK wants the Commonwealth to do more to ensure that same-sex marriages are recognised across all member states. This has been a contentious issue for Commonwealth members, but we believe progress is fundamental to the Commonwealth’s ability to improve the lives of its people and develop peaceful societies.

Commonwealth members share a collective responsibility to live up to the values of the Commonwealth Charter and we will continue to be clear in pressing them to embrace these values. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond) wrote to the Commonwealth Secretary General in March and raised the importance of implementing the aims and aspirations of the Charter.

Last month, The Minister of State, my noble Friend, the right hon. Baroness Anelay of St Johns DBE, met the US Special Envoy for the Rights of LGBT persons to discuss how the UK could work with likeminded partners, including in the Commonwealth, to strengthen the work of civil society organisations and all those fighting to end discrimination.