UK: House of Lords Holds Marriage Equality Debate

Written by scott on June 3rd, 2013

LondonThe House of Lords in the UK held the first day of its marriage equality debate. Things are supposed to wrap up tomorrow.

Here’s what happened today.

Dot429 reports tha Lord Dear, an opponent, is afraid kids will get gay-married in class:

“Parents will not have a legal right to withdraw children from classes which endorse same-sex marriage in the curriculum,” said Dear during his speech. “The effect on schools will undoubtedly be divisive, and we should reflect on the fact their calls have already been made for children to act out gay weddings in class.”

Another opponent, Baroness Knight, made a rambling argument against marriage equality. Pink News reports:

She said “a higher authority” than any peer, had “already decided that people are not equal”, because “some people can see, others are blind”. She went on to offer a stereotype about gay people, saying they are “delightful”, and “very artistic”, before observing that men can’t “bear a child”, that women can’t “produce sperm”, and that “no law on earth can change that”. Continuing, she argued that the freedom to discriminate based on conscience should be preserved, and claimed that teachers would be made to “teach homosexuality”. She finished by saying the Marriage (same sex couples) Bill, was “built on lies”, and said she would vote against it.

Lord Jenkin explained why he supports marriage equality. Pink News reports:

My own starting point is something that I learnt many years ago as an undergraduate faced with what was, for me, a new involvement with people who were not heterosexual. I asked my grandfather, who was an extremely wise lecturer at the Edinburgh medical school, all about it. He said, “My dear boy, it is as foolish to condemn those who have homosexual proclivities as it is to condemn them for having red hair”. I have lived with that all my life and I have always opposed discrimination against homosexuals.

Another marriage equality supporter, Baroness Royall, urged her colleagues to support the marriage equality bill. Pink News reports

In an ever changing world where turmoil and instability are too often the norm it is a cause for celebration when two people of either the same-sex of the opposite sex wish to commit their lives to each other through marriage. I am the product of a happy marriage and I had the good fortune to enjoy nearly 30 years of marriage. Our aim, like so many other couples, was to grow old together, to support each other in sickness and in health. We had our ups and downs but the fact that we were married increased our resolve to make our relationship work, and it was the framework within which we wanted to raise our children. Of course I have friends who are single who are great parents and friends who have lived together for many years who are wonderful parents – like my Noble Friend the Chief Whip although I am delighted to say that on Saturday he and his partner Jill are going to be married. I celebrate that and I would like to be able to celebrate the marriage of gay friends, with or without children.

Pink News also live-blogged the debate here.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in the United Kingdom.


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