London Mayor Ken Livingstone has written to Conservative Party leader Michael Howard, to ask his views on Bromley council's decision to ban ceremonies for gay and lesbian sex couples registering under the new Civil Partnerships Act and the statements of Bromley's leader and other councillors seeking to justify the decision. Greater London Authority lawyers are looking into the possibility of supporting a legal challenge to Bromley’s decision.
In the letter, the Mayor writes:
'This matter was brought to my attention by Bromley residents who, quite understandably, see the position of the Council as discriminatory and offensive.
'My concern as Mayor of London in this matter is twofold; first, I have a duty to promote equalities and good community relations for all Londoners; second, I do not want London's international reputation as an open and tolerant city to be sullied by the actions and statements of one of its boroughs. I know that this decision by Bromley and the statements of these councillors do not represent the views of the vast majority of Londoners. I trust they do not represent your views as leader of the opposition.'
In a previous letter to Bromley Council Leader, Stephen Carr, Mr Livingstone described comments attributed to Bromley councillors in the media as `blatant homophobic bigotry’.
According to the Bromley News Shopper (7 June 2005), council leader Stephen Carr said: 'They shouldn't be seen as equal. Gay marriage undermines our society and family values.'
The same article also reports that councillor Colin Bloom said: 'Gay marriages are immoral and undermine family values in society.'
Current mayor Councillor Joan Wykes is reported to have said: 'Marriage is about procreation and contributing to society. However, with same-sex partnerships, this doesn't contribute to anything apart from trying to get what perks they can.' (Bromley News Shopper, 7 June 2005)
Stephen Carr, Leader of Bromley Council, has not yet replied to Mayor Livingstone.
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