Monday, 20 May 2013

Progress at Report stage of Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

None of the hostile amendments to the bill that were voted on so far survived the first of two days of debate at Report stage.

Early media reports:

Guardian Gay marriage bill survives after Ed Miliband votes against amendment

The gay marriage bill has been saved after Ed Miliband agreed at the last minute to vote against an amendment to extend civil partnerships to heterosexual couples that had prompted government warnings that it would derail the entire measure.

The Labour leader, who had planned to abstain in a Commons vote on the amendment, agreed to change tack after the government chief whip Sir George Young sent a message to his opposition counterparts that the Tory leadership was facing defeat.

The move meant that the amendment, tabled by the anti-gay marriage Tory, former children’s minister Tim Loughton, was defeated by 375 to 70 votes, a majority of 305…

Independent David Cameron offers review of civil partnerships as gay marriage Bill clears major hurdle

Moves to legalise gay marriage cleared a crucial parliamentary hurdle as it emerged that civil partnerships could be abolished as the price for getting David Cameron’s plans on to the statute book.

A wrecking amendment tabled by Conservative opponents of same-sex marriage was defeated by 375 to 70 votes after the Tory front bench was supported by the vast majority of Labour and Liberal Democrats.

As the Commons debated the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, Labour threw Mr Cameron a lifeline in his latest battle with Tory right-wingers. He faced the prospect of losing the vote on the wrecking amendment, which could have delayed the introduction of gay marriage until after the election…

The Hansard record of yesterday’s debate is available, starting here.

Some of the key voting figures:

To accept Maria Miller’s new clause 16 providing for a detailed study of Civil Partnerships: 391 for, 57 against.

Amended to do so immediately by Kate Green’s “manuscript amendment: approved by voice vote.

To accept Tim Laughton’s new clauses 10 and 11: 70 for, 375 against.

To provide marriage registrars with an option for conscientious objection: 150 for, 340 against.

Amendment to Equality Act 2010 to make belief in traditional marriage a protected characteristic: 148 for, 339 against.

Amendment to define the meaning of the word “compelled”: 163 for, 321 against.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 20 May 2013 at 11:35pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: equality legislation

The interesting thing is how the CofE's various offerings in this debate have been completely ignored. The CofE's views are obviously regarded as the internal debate of an irrelevant cult, rather than anything much to do with the country at large.

With majorities like yesterday the House of Lords would find it virtually impossible to hold the bill up, which means that the bishops will be ignored in person as well as on paper.

That's what happen when you hold to fixed positions, wrapped in unreadable waffle. You end up talking to your own membership, while no-one else listens.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 at 8:28am BST

'You end up talking to your own membership, while no-one else listens.'

I am still a member (just!) and I stopped listened to so-called 'official' CofE pronouncements years ago. That claim to speak for all of us and have consulted none of us.

Apart from the spufflings of some homophobic Tories ('aggressive homosexual community' anyone?) I thought Parliament conducted itself quite admirably yesterday.

Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 at 10:23am BST

This is a victory for those Same-Sex couples who wish only to live their lives in peace and security - unhindered by those in society who question their right to live together in monogamous faithfulness to one another.

Detractors from the Bill have now been defeated in their effort to encumber the legislation with the 'red herring' of opening up Civil Partnership to heterosexual couples as a 'quid pro quo'.

No doubt the leadership of the Church of England may be rueing the day that they opposed the idea of Same-sex couples being legally joined together in Civil Partnerships. If they had been more helpful in that matter, the prospect of Same-Sex Marriage may never have been considered by the British Parliament.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 at 10:38am BST

The CofE's views may have been regarded as the internal debate of an irrelevant cult, but the whole debate in parliament was dominated by the internal debate of the conservative party. That's why the critical issue ended up being the timing of an investigation into something that everybody knows no-one wants. Labour managed to hand massive power to the swivel-eyed loons while disagreeing with them and forcing the conservative frontbench to agree with labour, which was a political masterstroke but is somewhat disconnected from the issue of gay marriage.

Posted by: Leon on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 at 12:13pm BST

I think a claim that nobody wants civil partnerships for mixed-sex couples needs justification. The government consultation that preceded this bill had a large majority in favour.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 at 12:49pm BST

It is my personal belief that the number of mixed-sex couples who want to enter into civil partnerships is approximately zero. That is different to the number of people who think they should be allowed.

If I'm wrong then I agree they should be allowed.

Posted by: Leon on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 at 3:40pm BST

What difference is there between marriage and civil partnership for a heterosexual couple (or indeed for a homosexual couple) - are there different legal rights?

Posted by: Cathy on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 at 5:03pm BST

What happens in France may not be a helpful comparison but the figures there are astounding.

When the French government introduced their version of a civil partnership (Pacs), although aimed at gay couples, it was an immediate hit with opposites sex couples.

Some 95% of Pacs are entered into by straight couples and currently the figures for Pacs and marriages have almost equalled out with something like a quarter of a million each a year.

While there are important differences between a Pacs and a CP, I think the figures speak for themselves.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 at 6:50pm BST

what are the legal differences between French marriage and Pacs? Is it just the word marriage that people are trying to avoid or is there some substantial difference?

Because as far as Britain is concerned, one reason we want marriage equality is because our CPs are nor recognised in all countries, which puts us at a genuine disadvantage.
I'm not sure why straights would want to trade marriage for CPs that are absolutely the same thing with the exception of a bit of discrimination thrown in.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 26 May 2013 at 9:19am BST
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