Thinking Anglicans

House of Commons considers Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

Updated

The House of Commons held its first debate on this bill, known as Second Reading.

The debate in its entirety can be watched here [Debate commences at 12:47:47 on media player], or alternatively over here.

The Hansard record is now available here.

The vote on Second Reading was 400 in favour, 175 against.

According to the Press Association, as reported by the Guardian (and scroll for further details):

126 Conservatives voted for the bill, along with teller Desmond Swayne. 134 Tories voted against the Bill’s second reading, along with two tellers. That means 136 MPs opposed the bill. Another five Conservative MPs voted both for the bill and against it, the tradition way of registering an abstention. (Technically this means you could say 139 Tories voted against the bill, or 141 opposed it, but that would be misleading.) And another 35 Conservative MPs who did not vote.

217 Labour MPs voted in favour of the bill, 22 Labour MPs voted against and 16 did not vote.

44 Lib Dems voted in favour, four voted against and seven did not vote.

The BBC has voting lists here.

Subsequent votes were
Programme Motion 499 in favour, 55 against.
Money Resolution 481 in favour, 34 against.
Carry-over Motion 464 in favour, 38 against.

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Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

“The Ayes have it. The Ayes have it.”

Ayes : 400. Noes : 175.

Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

It was a big enough majority to have secured women bishops!

Father Ron Smith
Guest

The result of this debate shows the dedication of Prime minister Cameron to the cause of justice for LGBT persons living in England and Wales, and is therefore a brave step for him – considering the fact that many of his Conservative M.P.s seem to have failed to meet the criteria by voting against. It was good to see that both the Labour and Lib-Dems were majorly in support of this important legislation. One now awaits the presumed denial of this work of justice towards the recognition of rights to the LGBT community – by the Bishops in their position… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis
Father Ron Smith
Guest

On this subject: The ‘Ugley Vicar’ has said this on his blog:

“Same-sex attraction is a sexual attraction. It is not just about feelings of love. The debate said a lot about love and commitment. What did it say about sex?”

I would ask, “isn’t this the same with heterosexual attraction, too – that SEX is involved?”

Labarum
Guest
Labarum
Father David
Guest
Father David

It was once said by a government “spin doctor” we don’t do God”. Having listened intermittently to yesterday’s Commons debate I was amazed at the number of references M.Ps made to God and Jesus!

JCF
Guest
JCF

Yo, Ugley Vicar: the Church gets to say something about Love&Commitment. Sex is SOLELY up to those so lovingly commited!

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

My old Trotskyist ally Mike Wood (Batley and Spen) voted against.
We trained for priesthood together 40 years ago. Haven’t spoken to him in a decade, does anyone have any info on why this famous rebel has voted this way?

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

On this subject: The ‘Ugley Vicar’ has said this on his blog:

“Same-sex attraction is a sexual attraction. It is not just about feelings of love. The debate said a lot about love and commitment. What did it say about sex?”

I regret this obsession with, which gives every appearance of pandering to the spirit of the age. Our culture seems pretty averse to thinking of, or portraying Love, overmuch. I never thought it would ineffect those out and out for Evangelicalism.

David Bieler
Guest
David Bieler

After reading what the “Ugley Vicar” has to say, I am forced to ask myself whether or not the ontological facts of nature that we observe will ever be able to convince people who cling to some supposed teleological facts of nature that are of human construction. (I realize that they would say they are divine construction.) This fundamental dichotomy in view points seems to underlie all discussions of gender (women’s ordination, equal marriage), the evolution/creationism debates (intelligent design presupposes purpose), and perhaps other issues I can’t think of at the moment. Sometimes I despair of ever being able to… Read more »

Tim Moore
Guest
Tim Moore

The Ugley Vicar should note that civil partnerships are not actually about sexual relationships. This is from Louis Letourneau at the gayfinance.info website: “But there are differences as we saw during the Lords Debate, Baroness Scotland (the Minister) answered the homophobic Lord Tebbit by referring to ‘one of the major differences between civil marriage and civil partner to be valid was of course, consummation. For a marriage, it has to be consummated by one man and one woman and there is a great deal of jurisprudence which tells one exactly what consummation amounts to—partial or impartial, penetration or no penetration.… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Oh dear in my previous comment, I notice I failed to identify a regrettable obsession. Does that mean I am myself in fact, obsessed ? I think a Freudian approach would suggest it! A more charitable approach might say, look, see jsut how much I can take it or leave it !

The missing word, of course, is ‘sex’.

However, I regret to see that yesterday’s Vote has, ‘in fact’ had some regrettable sequelae, as predicted by some of the more alarmist nay-sayers !

http://newsthump.com/2013/02/06/church-says-told-you-so-as-all-marriages-collapse/

commentator
Guest
commentator

Now is the time for all clergy in civil partnerships to start drafting a letter to their Diocesan and Area/Suffragan Bishops asking when they will make it possible for them to exercise their legal rites to civil marriage? They might like to suggest that the CofE takes a step back from the indiscriminate recognition of civilly celebrated marriages and recognises only marriage celebrated in church, investing only these with sacramental status. – That would put the cat amongst the pigeons! But the HoB will continue to act against its civilly partnered priests by banning them, not from consideration for episcopal… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Excellent advice from Andrew Adonis. There is so much the ABC can and needs to do AT HOME. Work that would have a meaningful impact and spreading of the Good News. That would be a very good example to the Anglican Communion.

If he continues Rowan’s pattern of trying to leverage Africa against TEC, Canada, and other progressive churches, we are doomed to another useless, hurtful, and wasteful dance. And further isolate CoE from the people they are supposed to serve, English and Welsh people whose taxes go into supporting CoE.

peterpi - Peter Gross
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peterpi - Peter Gross

Regarding the whole “love” vs “sex” — and for some on both sides, apparently, it is “vs”, rather than “and” — debate, I remember having similar debates with gay friends in the 1990s, when the real possibility of same-sex marriage began to emerge in the USA. Some of my more radical friends felt that the whole concept of marriage was a patriarchal sell-out, that being gay meant never having to say “I do!” That it was all about the pure enjoyment of sex for itself. To those people, I simply say, “Then marriage is not for you, but how about… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

” I was amazed at the number of references M.Ps made to God and Jesus!”

Posted by: Father David

And isn’t it salutary, that it took a debate about Gays to bring up the subject of God and Jesus ? This surely must be a plus for those who really believe that God cares for homos as well as heterosexuals!

Father David
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Father David

Father Ron – I’ve never for a single moment doubted that God cares equally for both homosexuals and heterosexuals – all those He has created in humankind are deeply loved and valued in his sight. My great hope is that the Almighty and His only begotten Son make more regular appearances in the chamber of the House of Commons as their presence might just well improve the quality of the debate, if not the outcome of the vote.

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

And such wonderful support for heterosexual marriage, especially from those who think it so important that, like Roger Gale MP, they have done it three times.

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Judging from Bp Tom Butler’s ‘Thought for the Day’ this morning, the overwhelming vote for equal marriage this week ought to prompt the C of E into considering allowing the blessing of civil partnerships in church. On this timescale the C of E will be considering allowing equal marriage in church in about ten years time.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I’ve just heard some of the debate in the House of Commons, and am very much impressed by wya in which it was conducted. The arguments for Gay Marriage were clear and succinct – dispelling any doubt by religious dissidents that they might be penalised for not rejoicing at the probable outcome of the proposed legislation. Bravo the House!

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

Whither Marriage Part 1: Unless the House of Lords achieves something quite remarkable, it does seem that same sex marriages will be solemnised quite soon; it does seem that liberal and soft left elite in the legislature is in favour of the development by a great majority; and that the Conservative party alone matches the general view among the electorate – equally divided, for and against. Arguments against the propriety of proceeding without electoral mandate and without a super-majority in the general population do seem already to have been discounted, so where does that leave the nation? Up until now… Read more »

Labarum
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Labarum

Whither Marriage Part 2 So, it’s a civil marriage ceremony for all, to establish a legal contract, with a religious solemnisation for those that choose it, and those that choose a definition of marriage that is differently specified. Church courts would need to be restored to adjudicate the dissolution of religious marriages, and the current practice of allowing the Jewish community to establish private tribunals to consider matrimonial disputes extended to Sharia tribunals, subject again to the supervision of Law Courts of the land. The English parishioners right to marry should be withdrawn, so that only those who assent to… Read more »

dr.primrose
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dr.primrose

“Given that marriage is to be permitted between two persons of the same sex, why should polygamous and polyandrous marriages not be permitted?”

Oh, that slippery slope. Once you allow a man to have one wife, the next thing you know, he wants five.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I have just submitted my own opinion on the felicity of the debate on 7th February in the House of Commons. I’m not sure they will take any notice of a submission from far off New Zealand (we are in the midst of our own debate in the New Zealand Anglican Church), but I thought I must do what I can to support the Parliament of the country of my birth.

I urge any of you here who supports Gay Marriage to send in your own submission. Every little helps.

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

“Given that marriage is to be permitted between two persons of the same sex, why should polygamous and polyandrous marriages not be permitted?”

Striking non-sequitur.

Craig Nelson
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Craig Nelson

The second reading in British politics is a key moment and calls for a brief pause before the next stage (committee) begins. I have a number of reflections. 1. The CofE may want to reflect on how hitching one’s wagon to the star of C4M, the extremist Christian Institute (organisation behind C4M and who opposed every single move towards LGBT equality without a single exception). C4M do not come out of this debate looking sane or balanced. I am not asking people to say things they don’t believe but subcontracting CofE “thought” to C4M is not a good way to… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

Dr. Primrose: Labarum could be a covert conservative, but there’s no hint of tongue-in-cheek. If he’s a liberal he’s merely advocating a clearer separation between the civil and religious marriage. It’s not a scare-mongering slippery slope argument when it comes from a more extreme element on your side of the debate. To some liberals who favour his argument, and for whom you now have no reasonable counter-argument, it’s the next logical step to extend marriage to encompass UK minority customs of world religions and personal motives above a shared consistent public meaning. You wouldn’t have a problem with ‘extending’ marriage… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

“Given that marriage is to be permitted between two persons of the same sex, why should polygamous and polyandrous marriages not be permitted? “

If you really can’t tell the difference, then you probably *do* need someone to tell you whom to marry.

Tobias Haller
Guest

Actually, any argument against polygamy or polyandry has to stand on its own legs regardless of the success of marriage equality for same-sex couples. There is no natural slippage from same-sex monogamy to mixed-sex polygamy. The real slip is from mixed-sex monogamy to mixed-sex polygamy, amply displayed in the early chapters of Genesis. It is a fair question to ask, but the context is wrong. Opposition to Muslim or Fundamentalist Mormon polygamy needs to find its own logical legs; and something other than circular reasoning is needed. But this has nothing to do with same-sex marriage, other than the fact… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

David, I think we all have to accept that any future parliament could make any changes to marriage legislations it wished to provided it got the required majority. The question is how likely it is that polygamy would suddenly become a major issue in society. Right now, gay people want exactly what straights have – exactly the same exclusive relationship between 2 committed people. How you can jump from there to saying that there will be a sudden groundswell of opinion that wants to introduce polygamy, when that has not yet ever been mooted among the largely straight population, I… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“Given that marriage is to be permitted between two persons of the same sex, why should polygamous and polyandrous marriages not be permitted?

Red herring.

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

David, the extreme on your side wants to kill gay people. The extremes on either side are not going to happen — the chances of “death to gays” or polygamy being adopted in the U.K., the U.S. or Canada is nil.

Labarum
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Labarum

@Cynthia

Not a red herring at all. If the traditional understanding of marriage is to be modified on grounds of equality and non-discrimination, all cultural practices have to be embraced in the rules of a liberal, multi-cultural society.

What justification is there for refusing equal treatment to minority groups that have for generations considered polygamy or polyandry both acceptable and normal?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Labarum “What justification is there for refusing equal treatment to minority groups that have for generations considered polygamy or polyandry both acceptable and normal?” I’m sorry that you don’t appear to have read any of the answers people gave on this list. The question is not what a minority group wants but whether it can convince a majority in society that the wish is justified and whether it can drum up a parliamentary majority for its wish. And so I would say that it is highly unlikely that Britain will ever legislate for polygamy, but we have to say that,… Read more »

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

“What justification is there for refusing equal treatment to minority groups that have for generations considered polygamy or polyandry both acceptable and normal?” As Jonathan Rauch noted several years ago in his book on same-sex marriage, there are strong societal reasons for not having polygamy. In humankind unaffected by abortion or gender selection, children are born almost exactly 50% each for boys and girls. One man having five wives essentially results in four men having no wife. That situation results in significant social instability in a couple of ways, he says. To begin with, unattached men tend to be less… Read more »

Counterlight
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Counterlight

Perhaps we should ask King David, his general Uriah, and Bathsheba about Biblical marriage. Polygamy was the norm for marriage in the ancient world, especially for those who could afford it. The Mormon fundamentalists are right about that. The point of marriage for centuries was to produce sons to perpetuate the family name and inheritance. Why risk everything on monogamy with a barren wife? People didn’t start marrying out of love in large numbers until very recently. Before the 18th century, love was for children, not for spouses. All of the great love affairs of early literature were adulterous, even… Read more »

Anne
Guest
Anne

Labarum “What justification is there for refusing equal treatment to minority groups that have for generations considered polygamy or polyandry both acceptable and normal?” I can’t see why allowing gay marriage makes polygamy any more likely. It seems to me that once society has created any sort of legal machinery by which people can declare a commitment to one another it is then possible for anyone to claim that they should also be allowed to enter into such a relationship. That doesn’t, however, mean that they will. The word “marriage” could, theoretically, be used of any relationship we want it… Read more »

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

Sigh.

My point is a simple one. If a state that has hitherto defended traditional Judeo-Christian mores decides that it will no longer; but that it should frame legislation in accord with the lights of a post-modern relativistic multi-culturalism, how does it justify admitting the legitimacy of same sex marriage while refusing to recognise polygamous (or polyandrous) marriages?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Labarum,
I will make the same point for a third time.

The state can do what it likes. It does not have to “justify” anything beyond the level required to get a parliamentary majority for it.

And if there is a sufficient majority in society and in parliament who want polygamy, a future parliament can introduce it.

At present, there is a sufficient majority in society and in parliament to support a change in the understanding of marriage to include same sex couples.
And so that will become law.

Where’s the problem?

Anne
Guest
Anne

And a sigh from me, Labarum. The state justifies its decisions about whether or not to call a particular relationship “marriage” according to whatever a majority of its people happen to have decided it should. It is called democracy. If the UK wished to recognise polygamous relationships as marriage, or indeed relationships between adults and 12 year olds (as it has done in the past), it could do so. It is up to us as members of that state to define what sort of relationships we wish to legitimise and support; it is our responsibility in every age to decide… Read more »

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

“The state can do what it likes. It does not have to “justify” anything beyond the level required to get a parliamentary majority for it.” Indeed it can, and it is; but this philosopher is looking for some consistency, some equality, some fairness. He sees only problems, only an arbitrary judgement. The root of the antagonism shown me may be this: that the proponents of same sex marriage see the development as progressive, but would see the legitimisation of polygamy in “liberal” western societies as regressive, and tending to favour the subjugation of women. (And I might ask “According to… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

Erika, I think the problem is that although institutions evolve, they are not trends. An institution holds a shared inter-generational social meaning through which we maintain its importance and purpose to society. Institutions need consensus to thrive. In a previous comparison, I referred to British Citizenship. Citizens have unconditional right of abode and can vote in parliamentary elections. It is largely restricted to natives and their immediate descendants. Applications for naturalisation are only approved at the Home Secretary’s discretion. So non-natives and their relatives might campaign for immediate ‘equal citizenship’ on marriage to a UK citizen. According to the Home… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Well, maybe that philosopher should have listened to the parliamentary debate that talked a lot about equality and fairness. Do you really think that Cameron would have done this if he had thought it was electoral suicide? That he would have done this if not opinion poll after opinion poll had shown a consistent majority in favour? Even among Christians? Do disagree, by all means. But this is very clearly a very popular political move in the country at large. And that is all that is required in a parliamentary democracy. The other important requirement is the protection of minorities.… Read more »

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

“But there is no single reason left why your particular religious belief should affect my civil rights.”

I agree, Erika; and that is why I say these proposals are not thoroughgoing enough. They are inconsistent and unfair.

Let those ethnic minority communities that are accustomed to polygamy have their cultural norms recognised.

NB Parliament may have a substantial majority for same sex marriages, but (according to opinion poles) the nation is about equally divided.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Wait, are you actually arguing in favour of polygamy?

But what makes you think that doing that on the back of a completely unrelated issue is credible?

You will have to make credible arguments in favour of it and convince the majority in society that a minority should be allowed to marry more than one partner.

Like same sex marriage, this stands and falls on its own terms.

Counterlight
Guest
Counterlight

“You do have to justify your progressive policy change, or it does look both arbitrary and discriminatory …”

As opposed to the decades when same sexuality was criminalized and pathologized for entirely arbitrary reasons. And those on the receiving end of that policy suffered the worst kind of discrimination.

Craig Nelson
Guest
Craig Nelson

I agree (broadly) with Erika about parliamentary democracy – the vote in the elected chamber is a reflection of the broad opinion in the country on this matter – these people depend on getting their ‘calls’ right to get back into Parliament as individuals and also as a governing party. And from a scientific point of view we have opinion polls – many of them! I don’t say that democracies never do wrong things or that majorities are ever wrong – s28 was passed by a Parliament, after all. There is the need for justification but I think providing for… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

David, there have actually been very few acts of legislation in recent history that are as popular as equal marriage. The Christian Institute “warned” as early as 2008 that Cameron would introduce it and it “warned” repeatedly since. The Conservatives included the promise of equal marriage consultation in their Equality Manifesto. They conducted a proper 3 months long public consultation exercise in which every single citizen and resident of this country could participate. That only just under 400,000 did so may well show that people are not so worked about about it as you think. The majority of those who… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Serious Omission of religious & spiritual freedoms ************************************************* Why is no one speaking of the denial of religious freedom, to those many members of the Church of England, both lay and ordained, whose freedom to see gay and lesbian couples marry will be denied, under this legislation ? Who will be denied marriage themselves under this legislation ? And the fervent desire of many ministers to marry all parishoners, would be circumvented at the behest of bishops who would impose this on us ? Or is it nameless officials ? The members of the Church have never been consulted on… Read more »