Stonewall Cymru newsletter, Summer 2013
ANY piece about LGB rights and the law in Wales has to touch on just how far we’ve come in the last fifty years. It’s amazing, and humbling, to realise that we’re only now seeing the retirement of the last lawyers and judges who actively took part in criminal trials here in Wales that saw young men sentenced to prison just for being gay.
Fast forward fifty years, and now you’re reading a guest blog for Stonewall Cymru written by a representative of a top law firm, talking about LGB rights, marriage equality and the right to family life.
A sampling of the enquiries we receive on a daily basis is testament to just how different the legal world has become. It’s not just civil partnerships: we see gay personnel serving in the Armed Forces trying to resolve their pension and childcare arrangements; same-sex couples looking to enter into pre-marital agreements (the much-maligned “pre-nup”); couples in loving, committed relationships hoping to start families, where the would-be parents’ orientation is a minor detail rather than a stumbling block.
The law continues to evolve, and only ever in one direction. Every measure introduced which touches on sexual orientation marks a step forward for LGB rights. The introduction of civil partnerships, and the recent Parliamentary vote on marriage equality, show that the political climate has changed dramatically.
As lawyers, we see the results of this attitude shift every day, to the point where an LGB client can expect – and should demand – not only to receive the same treatment as a heterosexual client, but also to have almost all the same options and solutions available to them in law.
Sadly, this is not the case for every client who approaches a solicitor. There is still so much to be done. We meet people on a daily basis who have experienced casually homophobic behaviour from their previous lawyers, or felt uncomfortable with heteronormative assumptions made on their behalf.
We pride ourselves on being on the right side of that fight. We believe every client, regardless of gender or orientation, is entitled to fair and equal treatment, and to the same quality of family life. We’ve been proud to support Stonewall wherever we can, and have written many pieces in the press supporting marriage equality and other moves towards true equality for all before the law. We’ll be watching with interest for the next big development for LGB rights – and we’ll be ready.