Marriage equality opponents continue their attempts to kill the bill in the UK, this time by throwing it to a public vote. Pink News reports:
Lord Singh of Wimbledon has tabled an amendment to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill calling for a referendum on the issue of same-sex marriage, which would mean that even if passes at all stages, the law would not come into effect until voters approved it in a referendum. The Crossbench peer’s amendment 96, which has been proposed as part of the equal marriage bill’s final transitional and consequential provisions, plans to hold the referendum on 24 October 2013, or if that date is unsuitable, on any date before 1 November 2014.
Opponents know their best chance is in the court of public opinion, where they can distort the bill and play to voters’ fears and prejudices, as we learned time and time again here in the US.
In other UK marriage equality news, the head of the National Panel for Registration warned that marriage registrars should not be allowed to opt out of performing ceremonies for same sex couples. Pink News reports:
The position held by the NPR was “unanimous”, she said: “The objection to a conscience clause is based on registrars being local authority employees who are expected (and willing) to carry out all the functions that their role covers. “On a daily basis, registrars deal with many scenarios that for those with strong beliefs (religious or otherwise) would possibly not be able to carry out. Examples include: registering the birth of a child from a same-sex couple: undertaking marriages for previously divorced persons; or carrying out civil ceremonies and registrations.”
We’ll see what happens next – the marriage equality bill is due to move into the reporting stage next week.