The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill received its Second Reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday 5 February, passing by a huge margin.
It’s not over yet though, and the parliamentary process now moves into the Commons Committee stage. This includes an opportunity for all those with an interest in this legislation to submit written evidence to the Public Bill Committee which will examine the Bill in detail.
Submit your views about the Bill in writing to the Committee. Information about how to do this is available on the parliament.uk website here.
Today the full text of the Government’s same-sex marriage legislation will be unveiled.
The bill will be debated in full in the Commons in just over a week, before passing to the House of Lords. While there appears to be a majority of MPs in support of the bill, the Lords may be less willing to give it their support, and opponents of equal treatment before the law are still working hard to swing MPs back against the proposals.
It is expected that amendments will be put forward to the bill, around issues such as marriage conducted in places of worship and perhaps seeking to extend the changes further to offer mixed-sex civil partnerships.
If you’ve not already contacted your MP to urge them to support the bill, make it part of your plans for this weekend. Theyworkforyou can give you details of who they are if you enter your postcode, and for most MPs also gives a rough guide to how they have voted on LGBT issues in the past.
The legislative process for the introduction of same-sex marriage in England and Wales has just begun. This morning Maria Miller MP introduced the Bill in the House of Commons which will be debated, amended and hopefully become law later this year.
The full bill text will be released tomorrow, and the main (“second reading”) debate in the Commons will be on Tuesday February 5th.
It is expected to pass in the Commons and face a tougher battle in the Lords, where it is possible the Parliament Act will be used to force the legislation through.
A proposal to introduce same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland has fallen at the first vote.
When put to the vote the motion was rejected by 49 votes to 45, though a blocking measure by the DUP ensured that even if it had passed by a narrow margin it would have been prevented from progressing. The DUP invoked rules which demand measures have attracted support from both Nationalist and Unionist assembly members.
One law for all
Have you signed the petition for equal marriage yet?
Across Scotland and across England and Wales the pace is quickening in the campaigns over letting same-sex couples get married. A recent readers’ poll for bisexual magazine BCN showed overwhelming support for the change amongst bi people. BCN editor Jen Yockney says, “ten years ago, my relationships were viewed differently in law dependent on the gender of my partner. Today, even after so much legal reform, that is still the case.”
However, campaigners who want to keep the current setup are out in force, rewriting the history of marriage to claim it as an unchanging and exclusively religious institution that we tamper with at our peril.
The Coalition for Equal Marriage web petition is currently lagging behind its anti-equality rival: might you add your name and help narrow the gap?
Go here to sign.
Note: thanks to devolution, the campaign and legislation in Scotland is separate. This one’s about England and Wales.