The marriage equality bill in United Kingdom is now entering the committee stage in the House of Lords. Pink News reports:
The House of Lords will resume debate of the same-sex marriage bill this afternoon at 3pm. Following this month’s successful second reading vote in the Upper Chamber, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is now being put through its committee stage.
Pink News also reports on some of the amendment’s proposed for the bill:
The hereditary peer Lord Hylton’s amendment, which calls for the bill to leave out the word “marriage” and replace it instead with “union”, will be debated first this afternoon.
Former Conservative Party chairman Lord Mawhinney has tabled an amendment urging for heterosexual marriages to be lawfully described as “traditional marriage”. The amendment is similar to that of Lord Dear’s, which aims to protect those who believe marriage is “the union of one man and one woman for life to the exclusion of all others.”
Meanwhile, crossbench peer Lord Armstrong has tabled an amendment governing “Matrimonial marriages”. It states: “Lawful marriage between a man and a woman is matrimony; Lawful marriages between a man and a woman are matrimonial marriages.”
In related news, the Government is proposing an amendment to the Public Order Act that would offer additional protections to opponents of marriage equality. Pink News reports:
Numerous equal marriage opponents have voiced fears that the passing of the bill would lead to their prosecution. The amendment would be an attempt to placate those fears by making it clear people cannot be prosecuted for voicing their opinion on same-sex marriage. It would add a clause to the Public Order Act which states that “any discussion or criticism of marriage which concerns the sex of the parties to marriage shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred.”
The UK Government also pledged to decide if straight couples can enter into civil partnerships by next year. Pink News reports:
The government has announced its intention to launch a full public consultation in the autumn to kick start a review of the future of civil partnerships, and a final decision will be taken by the winter of 2014. During last month’s third reading debate of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill concerns were raised by MPs over the issue of civil partnerships and their role in light of equal marriage legislation. Three Tory MPs – Tim Loughton, Charlotte Leslie and Rob Wilson – were pushing for civil partnerships to be an option for heterosexual couples in an amendment as part of the bill.
Here’s that helpful chart on how bills progress through the British system again: