Monday, 17 June 2013

Marriage Bill: Committee stage starts today in the Lords

Updated Monday evening

There is a revised Marshalled List of amendments.

David Pocklington has written another very helpful article at Law & Religion UK entitled Same-Sex Marriage Bill – further legal issues. He comments:

… With the exception of the amendments relating to holding a referendum on the Act, (which would take place after the Act had gained Royal Assent, but before its other provisions come into force), the majority concern the clarification of issues specific to groups who are likely to be impacted by its provisions: followers of Judaism, [clause 5, amendment 21]; or Sikhism [clause 5, amendment 22]; or by challenges to their actions in relation to these and various equality provisions; publicly held appointments, [clause, amendment 5]; registrars, [clause 2, amendment 15 to 18]; teaching, [clause 7, amendment 23].

A number of amendments refer to “exercising a function that is a function of a public nature for the purposes of the Human Rights Act 1998”, one of the “grey areas” of particular interest to the Church of England which was discussed at length in the ‘Prayer to Annul’ debate on 15 December 2011 and is reported here. Other proposals seek to identify and protect the concept of “traditional marriage”, [clause 1, amendment 7], or “matrimonial marriage”, [clause 12, amendment 46].

In addition, potential new provisions include requirements for the Secretary of State to: create a statutory list of religious bodies owning or controlling premises that they do not wish to be eligible to undertake an opt-in activity, [clause 1, amendment 6]; and review the operation and effects of the Act to be reviewed, two years and five years after it is passed, [clause 15, amendment 47]…

The earlier article linked in the above extract, Same-Sex Marriage Bill – some legal issues, was included in our previous roundup.

Other comments, from different perspectives, can be found here (Colin Coward) and over here (Peter Ould).


The Archbishop of York spoke in this debate, and has published his text here.
There is a news report in the Telegraph Archbishop of York: would the church rather bless sheep and trees than gay couples?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 17 June 2013 at 8:36am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation

David Pocklington's account makes clear how nasty is the opposition from (mainly) religious bodies.

Also, how groups who came to Britain, in search of civil and religious freedoms, now wish to deny this to indigenous British natives, and gay Christians, Sikhs, Jews and Humanists. And completely ignoring Wales and its own culture - as if it were merely an appendage of England.

Knowing as I do, of the problems within the Sikh community in Britain, of the great difficulties experienced by women and families - especially women who need to divorce; and young women who need to pursue their own self-determination in study, career and love choice, I am inclined to think that Lord Singh and others should turn their attention to the real needs, real problems within British Sikhsim today.

Posted by: Laurence on Monday, 17 June 2013 at 11:49am BST

"Also, how groups who came to Britain, in search of civil and religious freedoms, now wish to deny this to indigenous British natives"

Leaving aside the blood and soil dangers of the word "indigenous", the answer to your question is "they don't". Just as the opposition to same-sex marriage comes from noisy, unrepresentative elements within Christianity, the same applies, pretty much, to every other faith group. Polls taken amongst "Muslims" tend to use a definition for "Muslim" that almost guarantees that it will only get the more conservative elements, and the same goes for other faith groups. Muslims in the colloquial sense --- people who have a heritage from Muslim areas, are not themselves observing but are perhaps "cultural Muslims" --- are bothered about ssm about as much as "cultural Christians" are, which is to say not at all.

SSM is a matter solely for conservatives who wish to attempt to gain control over a "community" by shaming them into agreement. It's unlikely to work in the Muslim and Sikh community, and entirely and completely doomed in the Jewish and Christian community.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Monday, 17 June 2013 at 10:22pm BST

The Archbishop of York is being disingenuous, at best. He says that "By contrast, the legislation to create Civil Partnerships was clearly a proper exercise". But the bishops fought tooth and nail to oppose Civil Partnership, voting for wrecking amendments and speaking in the most hair-raising terms of the consequences were civil partnerships to happen. Now, they want us to believe that they supported them all along. That doesn't seem completely honest.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Tuesday, 18 June 2013 at 8:32am BST
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