There has been considerable discussion lately about whether or not the Lords Spiritual supported the Civil Partnership legislation.
Richard Chapman, Secretary for Parliamentary Affairs for the Church of England has compiled a memorandum, which can be found in its original form here, and which we have transcribed as a web page.
The Lords Spiritual and Civil Partnerships Legislation
The following is a timeline that summarises the speeches and votes of bishops in the House of Lords on civil partnership legislation from 2002 – when a Private Member’s Bill was first brought before the House by Lord Lester of Herne Hill – to the passing of the Government’s Civil Partnership Act in November 2004.
The bishops, consistent with their place as independent and non-whipped members neither spoke nor voted as a bloc on these issues when they were before the House. The Government’s 2004 legislation that resulted in the introduction of civil partnerships was welcomed at Second Reading by the Bishop of Oxford and with more qualification, by the Bishop of Peterborough. More critical speeches followed from the Bishops’ Bench during the Bill’s subsequent stages. Six bishops voted in favour of (and one against) what was widely considered to be a ‘wrecking amendment’ to the Bill at Report stage; however when the Commons removed the amendment and returned the Bill to the Lords in November 2004, eight bishops voted in support of the decision taken by the Commons (two voted against). Extracts from speeches by the Lords Spiritual and links to the parliamentary record of the speeches and votes are below.
Our transcription is here.