house of lords

...now browsing by tag

 
 

UK: England/Wales: House of Lords Approves Marriage Equality

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Gay RightsThe House of Lords just passed the marriage equality bill on the final reading. Gay Star News reports:

History is made as marriage equality has passed the final vote for England and Wales. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill passed in the House of Lords without a vote. Peers in favor of same-sex marriage wore pink carnations as a symbol of their support. Before the vote, one of the lead backers of the bill and openly gay Lord Alli gave a moving and passionate speech. ‘You have given me equality where there was sometimes prejudice,’ he said. ‘My life will be better today than yesterday.’

What’s next?

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) told GSN there will need to be a ‘clearing up’ period, allowing both Houses to give their approval to small word changes and amendments. Culture Secretary Maria Miller will introduce the amendments at 7pm in the House of Commons tomorrow (16 July). They then said they hoped Queen Elizabeth II will be able to sign the bill into law by the end of this week. Perhaps frustratingly, the DCMS said it could take up to a year for gay marriage to be implemented in England and Wales. While they say it could be earlier, they said gay couples will definitely be able to officially marry by summer 2014.

Next summer sounds like an awfully long time. Anyone over there know why it wouldn’t take affect sooner?

UK, England/Wales: Marriage Equality Bill May Pass Final House of Lords Reading Without a Vote

Monday, July 15th, 2013

LondonToday’s the day for the marriage equality ill to be wrapped up in the House of Lords in the UK, before going back to the House of Commons to reconfirm the amended bill. Pink News reports:

The equal marriage bill for England and Wales is to undergo its Third Reading in the House of Lords today, and as the majority of its most vocal opponents have backed down in the face of its strong support, it may pass through without a vote. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is reaching the final stages of its legislative journey with its Third Reading today, as it passed Report Stage last week, and has already been through the House of Commons… The Lords will resume at 15:00, and if there is no opposition to the bill, it may be nodded through without a vote. The bill is expected to pass through quickly, and some peers have predicted it will go through before 16:00.

If it reaches final approval this week in both houses, how quickly could the Royal Assent come? Anyone over there have an idea?

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

UK, England: Marriage Equality Bill – Gays Plan Rally Monday, Christians Cancel Theirs

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

London ParliamentMarriage equality advocates are planning a day-long rally at the House of Lords monday as the final vote is taken on the marriage equality bill there. Pink News reports:

Campaigners will gather by the statue of George V in Old Palace Yard, Westminster, diagonally opposite the main entrance to the House of Commons at 11am on Monday. #LordsVigil will be used on Twitter to share information and photographs. The London Gay Men’s Chorus and the London Gay Big Band will provide music and entertainment from 11am, and attendees are encouraged to bring placards, rainbow flags and pink jack flags. The House of Lords will start at around 15:30, and the vote is expected in the evening. If passed in its Third Reading, the bill will be different to that which passed in the House of Commons, so will return there to for approval on Thursday.

So if things go well, the bill could be ready for royal assent by the end of the week. Wow.

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

UK, England: Marriage Equality Bill Moves to Report Stage

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

LondonThe debate on the UK’s marriage equality bill for England and Wales moved to the Report Stage yesterday. Gay Star News reports:

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has just completed the first day of the Report Stage, with several votes made on amendments made to wreck the bill. Among the many voted down was an amendment to allow registrars to refuse to do their job and not marry same-sex couples. It was voted down by a majority of 175.

But the most entertaining part involved George Clooney, indirectly:

Baroness Tina Stowell made the illustrious point while talking about how gay couples did not need to divorce on grounds of adultery.

She said: ‘As the law stands, if I was married to George Clooney and he was to have a sexual affair with, say, the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, that would be adultery. ‘If I was married to George Clooney and Mr Clooney had sexual relations with the noble Lord, Lord Alli, that would not be adultery because he would not be able to do the sexual act which is very specifically defined in law. ‘Should I wish to divorce Mr Clooney on those grounds, I would do so on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour.

Another amendment, to force a public vote, will e given a second reading in November, which I think basically kills it, as the law is expected to be in effect by then. Pink News reports:

A private member’s bill for a referendum on plans to legalise same-sex marriage in England and Wales will be subjected to a second reading debate by MPs on 29 November 2013. It has been tabled by Conservative MP and equal marriage critic Peter Bone, and was unveiled last month as part of an “alternative Queen’s Speech” by backbench Tories.

Another amendment was also defeated, one that would have “protected” teachers from “endorsing” marriage equality. Pink News reports:

An amendment to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill which would have “protected” teachers from being forced to “endorse” equal marriage, has been defeated in a vote in the House of Lords. Amendment 46 was defeated in a vote at Report stage of the House of Lords by 163 to 32, as the debate around amendments went on into the night. The amendment had aimed to ensure that the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill would not “Affect the right of teachers to express their personal views about marriage in an appropriate way, or mean that any teacher will be under any obligation to endorse a particular view of marriage.”

And in related news, a new poll says that 59% of Tory activists oppose the bill. Pink News reports:

A new YouGov poll of more than 800 Conservative Party activists shows 59% totally oppose legislation to allow for same-sex marriage in England and Wales. Only 24% of those surveyed were in total support of the government’s marriage reforms. The results show that the vast majority of the 852 Conservative Party members surveyed had a negative view of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. It also suggested that 19% – almost one in five – of Conservative members are seriously considering voting for the UK Independence Party at the next general election.

After the Report Stage, the bill gets its Third Reading, and then goes to the Queen for Royal Assent, assuming no changes have been made that require the House of Commons to approve it again. It could become law by the fall.

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

UK: House of Lords Debates Marriage Equality Bill for Final Time

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Big BenToday was the third and final day of debate on the House of Lords over the UK’s marriage equality bill for England and Wales. Pink News live-blogged the debate here.

Labour peer Lord Alli’s amendment to equalise pension provision for same-sex couples in the area of survivor benefits has been withdrawn… The bill in its current form will allow pension providers to discriminate against gay married couples as well as those in civil partnerships, by ensuring they receive far less survivor benefits than their straight counterparts. The government has warned reforming the system would be too expensive.

If it’s right, it’s right – expense shouldn’t matter. Providing pension benefits for straight couples is expensive too…

And Baroness Deech pushed an amendment to allow sisters and other cohabitating couples to enter into civil partnerships, though it was later withdrawn:

“Civil partners and married couples, gay or straight, will be treated in law far better than, for example, two elderly sisters who share a house or an elderly father and the daughter who cares for him.” Baroness Deech’s amendment was withdrawn during committee stage, but she warned of a challenge from the European Court of Human Rights, and said she would revisit the idea at the bill’s third reading. She predicted that, taking into account same-sex couples being allowed to marry, “my bet is that a discrimination case before the European Court of Human Rights would probably succeed because the Convention prohibits discrimination by birth.”

What comes next? Anyone over there know?

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

UK: House of Lords Debates Marriage Equality Again

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Big BenThe House of Lords is in the committee stage on the marriage equality bill. During the debate today, several amendments were offered, including one that would downgrade marriages for gay couples to “unions”. Pink News reports:

Baroness Shirley Williams, one of the most senior figures in the Liberal Democrats, says she will support an amendment by equal marriage opponent Lord Hylton. Lord Hylton has suggested that the word “union” is strong enough to describe the bond between same-sex couples. For page 1 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill his amendment states: “leave out ‘Marriage’ and insert ‘Union'”.

However, the amendment was ultimately withdrawn:

An amendment by equal marriage opponent Lord Hylton that suggested the word “union” is strong enough to describe the bond between gay couples has now been withdrawn from being included in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

Anti marriage equality Lord Dear claims he’s not homophobic:

Answering claims that the tabling of his amendments amounted to homophobia, and that he should not stand in the way of last month’s successful House of Commons third reading of the bill, Lord Dear replied: “All members of the Lords are unelected – that is to balance the elected element of the Commons with people who can bring a depth of experience to legislation; something not always present in any elected chamber. The role of the Lords is to revise and suggest amendments to the Commons, not to clash with its elected mandate.”

Another marriage equality opponent, the Archbishop of York, spoke in favor of keeping “traditional marriage” solely for straight people. Pink News reports:

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, addressed the question of the Church of England’s opposition to equal marriage, and the issue of whether or not it will bless civil unions, asking if the issue has been “given enough space”. Speaking against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in the House of Lords today, the Archbishop called the legislation an “abuse of language”, and backed an amendment to differentiate between opposite sex “traditional” marriage, and same-sex marriage.

And the bill slowly makes its way through the House of Lords…

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

UK: House of Lords Takes Up Marriage Equality Bill Again Today

Monday, June 17th, 2013

London

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:

UK Bills

UK: Marriage Equality Rally Planned for Monday in London

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

London ParliamentAs the House of Lords prepares to enter the committee stage in consideration of the marriage equality bill, a rally is planned for Monday in London in support of the bill. Pink News reports:

Supporters of equal marriage have organised a rally in favour of the bill for England and Wales, which will take place on Monday, the same day the bill goes to the House of Lords for committee stage. Some supporters will begin to rally at 3.30pm, but the majority are expected to arrive between 6pm and 8pm. The meeting point is the statue of George V at Old Palace Yard, London. Advocates of the rally encouraged supporters to arrive with rainbow and pink jack flags.

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

UK: Marriage Equality Opponents Still Trying to Water Down or Kill Bill

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Parliament, LondonSeveral politicians in the House of Lords are making moves to water down or outright kill the bill, even after an overwhelming vote in support of it a week and a half ago. Dot429 reports:

After Lord Geoffrey Dear surrendered to the marriage equality bill last week, he drafted new legislation in conjunction with it, intended to shield people who believe “marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life to the exclusion of all others.” In particular, the bill is for people who believe “traditional marriage is a belief worthy of respect in a democratic society,” as well as “that no person should suffer any detriment because of their belief in traditional marriage.”

Lord Mawhinney is getting into the act too with a :traditional marriage amendment. Pink News reports:

“For 40 years my life has been driven by my Christian and Conservative convictions,” Lord Mawhinney said. “And now I am led to believe that because I have continued to hold those values and principles I’m a swivel-eyed loon. Well, I want to raise a flag for swivel-eyed loons because at the very heart of the country and our party is a commitment to values and principles that our time-tested.” His amendment states: “It shall be lawful to refer to marriage between two people of the opposite sex as ‘traditional marriage’ and it shall be lawful to refer to marriage between two people of the same sex as ‘same-sex marriage.’”

And finally Lprd Hylton is proposing a new “wrecking amendment” that, if passed, could destroy the bill. Pink News reports:

Lord Hylton, the peer who accused gay people of stealing the word ‘gay’ from its original meaning, has tabled a new wrecking amendment for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. For page 1 of the bill his amendment states: “leave out ‘Marriage’ and insert ‘Union’”.

The debate rages on in the UK…

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

UK: Church of England Concedes Marriage Equality Defeat, But It Ain’t Over Yet

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

England ChurchIn some big news, the Church of England will no longer fight the marriage equality bill, citing large majorities for passage in Parliament. LGBTQ Nation reports:

The Church of England on Wednesday signaled it would no longer fight against the government’s plans to legalize same-sex marriage in England and Wales. In a short statement, the established Church said that the scale of the majorities in both the Commons and Lords made clear that it is the will of Parliament that same sex couples “should” be allowed to marry, reported The Telegraph of London. The announcement represents a dramatic reversal of opinion in the year since the Church asserted that same-sex marriage posed one of the biggest threats to the Church of England since the reign of Henry VIII.

But they do want some changes. The Telegraph reports:

[Rt Revd Tim Stevens] signalled that bishops would seek to introduce a notion of adultery into the bill and extend parental rights for same-sex partners. Under the current bill people in a same-sex marriages who discover that their spouse is unfaithful to them would not be able to divorce for adultery after Government legal experts failed to agree what constitutes “sex” between gay or lesbian couples. The bishops are also seeking to change a provision which says that when a lesbian woman in a same-sex marriage has a baby her spouse is not also classed as the baby’s parent. The result is that in some cases children would be classed as having only one parent.

But Matthew Stepton, president of LGBTory, cautions that we’re not there yet. Pink News reports:

…it is possible that some of those peers who voted against the amendment could actually oppose the bill itself. It is as a result of this sobering thought, along with the fact that 148 peers thought it acceptable to try to scupper the bill at second reading, that makes me suggest that the major battles lie ahead. Once committee and report stages take place in the Upper House, any number of amendments could potentially be tabled – some helpful and constructive, but some designed solely to try to at least undermine or at most derail this bill, which we know has the support of a consistent majority of the public in most opinion polls, quite apart from the elected House of Commons.

So while things are looking much more positive in the UK than they were even just a few days ago, it’s important to keep up the pressure on the House of Lords until it’s actually done.

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