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Same-sex marriage bill introduced in House of Commons

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  1. Good. Can we PLEASE get on with it. Lot of years of letters, emails, debates, questions, arguments and battle after battle. Personally? I can’t wait for it to be over so I can go back to ignoring it.

    The cause of equality, and the sacred right to choose, has always been at the heart of this. The details, the sexual orientation/gender matters are only a part of a bigger picture – that when some have fewer rights than others, everyone is imperilled.

    And honestly? If this fails then I am pretty much prepared to wash my hands and walk away. Because part of the failure will be the apathy of those who did not get off their backside and so much as fill in the consultation document online, let alone write a letter to their MP and express support.

    Still, I foresee a long and tedious journey. And wonder, when the media has its entirely predictable fit and invites all the bigots out of the woodwork AGAIN what the scum in power will do while they have a smokescreen.

    1. Howdy Partner 24 Jan 2013, 11:54am

      It _should_ get through the commons, as over 300 MP’s have declared their support for the bill, and the opposition also support same sex marriages. The problems come in when it gets to the Lords, which contain an unhealthy amount of homophobic, religious and old doddery men. They have said that they would use the Parliament act to force it through the Lords at any sign of it being crushed there.

      1. I saw a list of people on our side at the campaign for equal marriage site. But I still don’t think it beyond any of them to not be self-serving, gutless or opportunistic. Until the votes are counted, I’m not in a hurry to count the proverbial chickens.

        Yes, absolutely agree that the Lords are really the problem and with the UK having commonality with Iran – in that we both allow clerics political power – I anticipate a wrangle. And I agree about the use of the Parliament Act – needed it to equalise age of consent, likely to need it again to force through another piece of equality legislation. But it’s all about the time, and every piece of dawdling is harmful.

  2. “And honestly? If this fails then I am pretty much prepared to wash my hands and walk away”

    It probably doesn’t help that Stonewall spent the first few years saying that Civil Partnership was enough.

    Stonewall only changed their tune and supported gay marriage once a few major funders grumbled.

    Stonewall, rightly or wrongly, influence what straight organisations, government, etc see as being important to LGBT people – and these self-serving cocktail-party-hosting asshats basically went around telling decision makers that LGBT people only need Civil Partnerships.

    From the mindset of a straight MP: “Well, if the gay groups say they are happy, they must be”.

    Never forget how Stonewall sold us out.

    1. Spanner1960 24 Jan 2013, 11:58am

      Abso-frigging-lutely.

      I really don’t see why this bunch of mutual back-slappers and sycophants are somehow seen to represent LGBT people as a whole. They are a complete bunch of chocolate teapots.

      1. But I somehow think we’d be in a far worse position without them and, indeed, the whole range of national and local groups and individuals who’ve put their heads above the parapet in all sorts of different ways. The fight for equality proceeds on many fronts in many and varied ways. and thereby influences the whole broad range of opposition. This really is not the time for infighting.

        1. Alan Edwards 24 Jan 2013, 3:08pm

          How sensible and how right you are, Michael. Those abusive little jerks “Cynic” and “Spanner1960″ obviously have no clear understanding of how “Stonewall” and the gay men and lesbian women of the 1960s fought (literally sometimes) to draw attention to the rights of the Gay community. And what were you two doing?

          1. You are aware they are talking about Stonewall, the pressure group founded in 1989, as opposed to the riots it was named after, aren’t you? They have done a lot of good work, but it’s more than a little irritating that they have consistently failed to show any solidarity with trans people, and that they failed to support equal marriage for so long despite it being clear that the vast majority of the community supports it.

    2. Jock S. Trap 24 Jan 2013, 12:21pm

      I think it’s a bit boring to carp on about what Stonewall did, considering they are fully supportive of this legislation now.

      Stonewall are an excellent organisation and do a lot for the LGBT community and I think holding grudges is a bit low.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 24 Jan 2013, 12:32pm

        Jock, but where have Stonewall been since the consultation? We’ve been subjected to a bombardment of hate speech, spurious anti equal marriage rhetoric on an almost daily basis without any cessation or challenge from those who claim they support us. Concentrating on bullying in schools is all very well and laudable, but that’s not going to do anything to improve equality. Bullying will never be wiped out, it may diminish over time, but never entirely gone. Equal marriage is arguably the most important major civil rights movement for gay people around the world. If StonewallUK can’t be more proactive and vocal in this, then I fail to see how it can claim to represent LGBT people in the UK. Valsky’s comment above is absolutely right. Apathy and complacency have been part of the problem contributing to the rise in opposition to equal marriage. If anything, this is where StonewallUK should have stepped in and taken over the reins to counter the malicious backlash from….

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 24 Jan 2013, 12:38pm

          …the religious wing nutters in Parliament and C4M. One of C4M’s vile spokespersons, Dr. Sharon James has been getting more than her share of media coverage and saying the most mendacious things about equal marriage lately with precious little opposition. We on the other hand receive no representation or a chance to counter any of it. We have every right to hold a grudge.

      2. LGB…they don’t do anything for T.

        1. You could argue they do nothing for the “B” either, considering they’re, in many people’s eyes, only part of our community when they’re with someone of the same gender.

    3. Robert in S. Kensington 24 Jan 2013, 12:50pm

      Totally agree with that. I remember clearly when Summerskill said that there was no demand for equal marriage and something it would not be pursuing because CPs were enough. Laughable isn’t it? StonewallUK only supports issues where there is demand? It’s the same m.o. conservative religious nutters use to thwart any attempt to introduce equal marriage. I don’t recall a demand to stem the tide of bullying either yet it considers this to be its most important issue? Doesn’t StonewallUK realise that equal marriage can play an extremely important part in society’s perception, that we are treated fairly and equally and not to be viewed as some distinctly separate group of people who deserve nothing more than second class citizenship under a different name? CPs though well intended have created a second tier of class structure, the very thing that divides society, socially and economically.

      1. I think Stonewall did change their mind, and they have done much good work in the life of the organisation. Surely our world has been a better place because of them? But, as with all organisations, perhaps the best way to effect change might be to join them and work from within?…

    4. Janet wall 24 Jan 2013, 5:58pm

      Stonewall as far as I know, only represent LGB people.
      They have never been an influential voice for trans., if a voice at all.

    5. I think the change in policy was down to a few of us ‘petitioning’ Summerskill and his board and others with influence over them, and making a lot of noise about it in the press. I’m not aware of any large funders wading in.

  3. Jock S. Trap 24 Jan 2013, 12:11pm

    Excellent… look forward to getting this through and up the bigots!!

  4. Couldn’t agree more.

    The longer this goes on the more the media have an excuse to ply their homophobia.

    This can lead to increased verbal and violent acts against gay-or perceived to be gay-people.

    Look t that “Muslim Patrol” incident.

    Can you really say that wasn’t influenced by the present debate?

    1. Very much agree. Honestly it has been giving me grey hairs not being able to go new the news in any form without seeing some religious leader or Tory MP or homophobic “expert” spouting off really vile bigotry that should never have been allowed to air

    2. Agree. The government dawdling about this, the media inflaming the bigots, has made the country less safe than it was before. A prompt and decisive action would have put bigotry in its place, rather than allow it to flourish and giving it degrees of social acceptance.

      But then “divide and conquer” is current policy, and scapegoating us is politically expedient.

  5. How lovely it will be when the CoE realise how much money they are loosing out on and come like squealing pigs wanting to get in on it.

    1. I admit, that was one of my first thoughts when they got the quadruple lock – that what seemed to be extra layers of “protection” to them would turn into a stumbling block that would need a legislative act to undo when they want to get their hands on the cash.

      1. They should be able to offer Civil Partnerships in church, IF they wanted to, without any major change, although everything they do generally requires a Canon law change and for Parliament to then approve the Canon law on to the statue books.

        Better the route of disestablishment, then all religions are equal and use the same legislation, and frankly only us and Iran have clerics in Parliament !

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 24 Jan 2013, 2:22pm

          Israel has some orthodox clerics in its own Parliament, Gulliver.

          1. Aren’t they elected on the same basis as everyone else, rather than being given seats automatically?

        2. They have been able to have religious CPs for quite a while, the CofE have REFUSED to use it from the top down barring individual ministers to make the choice for themself.

        3. Isn’t the exciled Tibetan government quasi theocratic? Also one of the two constituional Princes of Andorra is a Roman Catholic Bishop.

          And besides do you really think alot of happy with the current Erastian state of affairs?

          1. That should have read a lot of Anglicans…Sorry.

  6. Yes, let’s get on with it. Though I imagine the Roman Catholic church in England and Wales will get its knickers in a twist and start to play dirty. TIme to fight fire with fire – those gay priests who are bullying their congregations to write to their MPs opposing the bill should be outed. The nerve of some of the signatories to the Telegraph is amazing – one of the priests was sacked as a governor for viewing porn on a school computer!

    1. Jock S. Trap 24 Jan 2013, 12:23pm

      Yep, goes without saying… beginning to think it’s all they do and I can’t be alone in that!

  7. About time! Just hope we get enough votes to pass it.

  8. It’s finally happening! Well, I hope anyway, don’t get my hopes up until we’ve seen the text of the bill and it’s actually passed – but it’s hard not to.

  9. Forgive me for saying this but it looks like there’s a race to the finish here and to see who gets there first; Scotland or the rest of the UK, neither one of which wants to be seen as the one lagging behind the other.

    1. Is that a bad problem to have? ;)

    2. Northern Ireland wants no part in the race so it’s a race between Scotland and England and Wales

      1. ...Paddyswurds 24 Jan 2013, 2:34pm

        Don’t know where you got that notion, but I for one and many many besides think quite differently. We think the PM should have included the North of ireland in the Bill. It is only the Unionist and DUPes Dinosaur politicos that are blocking it here although we only lost by a few votes . The bill would have passed had the cowardly DUP not invoked the misused Cross party supoport mechanism which gauranteed it wouldn’t pass. Well we are on to that ruse now and that will be addressed…..in cOURT!

        1. I wasn’t referring to the ppl of ni just your assembly. I was pointing out that the rest of the uk is not just england and wales. appoligies for the ambiguity and for the poor formatting of this comment. I am using my phone. I can’t edit and I can only see the laSt 5/6 words ive written.

    3. Not the rest of the UK, just Scotland v. England and Wales. Unfortunately, Northern Ireland are likely to be waiting some time.

      1. We can probably add France to the equation.

      2. I suspect hell will freeze over before NI gets marriage equality unless, like CPs, it is forced on them by Westminster, as indeed it should be.

  10. Pavlos Prince of Greece 24 Jan 2013, 12:54pm

    Will words ‘same-sex marriage’ be in the next Queens Speech, or not?

    1. Won’t the bill have passed most stages by then?

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 24 Jan 2013, 2:20pm

      Probably, ‘equal marriage’.

      1. Pavlos Prince of Greece 24 Jan 2013, 3:23pm

        I hope so much! Without the Queen this law will be for me quasi ‘unfinished’. Yes, I know that what really matters is Westminster not Buckingham – but symbolic, ceremonial part of this is important too, at least for me. Indeed, the idea of same-sex marriage itself in the UK of today is nothing more than very strong symbol,- have British gay couples right to call himself by word ‘marriage’ or not, and so all discussions about this too: if for us will be important only practical side and nothing more, we must absolutely pleasing with current legal situation, at least since December 2005. But we are not. Good!

  11. GulliverUK 24 Jan 2013, 1:06pm

    Only just saw this overnight – great video

    1. Great video.

  12. I think I’ll psyche myself up to write to my MP again. I’m not looking forward to his usual bigot drivel, double speak, response.

    1. It’ll be very good of you to write. I’m sure lots of people in your MP’s constituency will thank you – mainly because they can’t get over their apathy or just think it would be pointless, so someone else doing it for them picks up the slack.
      Things that are worth doing are always worth doing!

  13. It will be interesting to see how far the bigots will go when they step up their campaign of hate and disinformation during the debate. I expect the placard wielding religious nutters will be outside Parliament predicting the downfall of civilisation.

    1. I’m wondering the same thing: there has been so much vitriol and commentry that’s dumb-minded, slow-witted and utterly lacking in any empathy that I can’t think how anyone would up the ante on that. Though I’m sure someone will find a way.
      My only comfort when I see the outrageous and just dumb statements is that they are own goals: it’ll put a lot of people off who were on the sidelines or part of the silent majority who kind of supports equal marriage but can’t be bothered to even say so. No better demonstration for why equality is so necessary to achieve than seeing what the other side comes up with to resist it.

  14. Craig Denney 24 Jan 2013, 1:45pm

    A good day to “bury” bad news, now that the cameron has the support of his backbenchers.

    1. Craig is right!

      If Cameron is doing this to prevent bad news whats he going to do when the debate gets heated to appease the church?

      It looks weak!

  15. ...Paddyswurds 24 Jan 2013, 2:24pm

    Great news but I am disappointed that it doesn’t cover the North of Ireland…. After watching The Nolan Show last night on telly, our chances in the next 25 years are slim to say the least given the attitude of the Unionist dinosaurs and bigots her ….

    1. Northern Ireland need to make their own laws.

      1. ...Paddyswurds 24 Jan 2013, 5:04pm

        As indeed should Wales, I’m sure you’ll agree…..

  16. I still don’t understand why the Church of England and the Church in Wales are being explicitly banned from ever holding same-sex marriages, when the Churches themselves haven’t even asked for this.

    Still leaves some pointless discrimination on the statute books.

    1. There are technical reasons: because the CoE is the establishment church it has the obligation to marry all comers. Also canon law and civil law re marriage need to be the same because of what being established means. They’re sure as anything not going to change canon law (women bishops?) so that would set up a conflict with marriage law and things could go a bit haywire. It would give the anti-gay side all the ammunition they need because they could then claim that somebody somewhere at some point in time is going to ‘force them’. I really don’t want to hear that.
      There are motions afoot that perhaps individual vicars may wish to bless same-sex couples’ relationships in venues provided by eg the Quakers even though this would not be a marriage ceremony via the CoE rites – as far as I understand that anyway.
      But as far as the Church in Wales is concerned: they were disestablished in 1920 something? So less reason there. But they said they wanted to be treated just like the CoE.

      1. Regarding the Church of England, all that’s needs to be written into law is a clause stating that the Church is not compelled to conduct same-sex marriages if it doesn’t want to. I don’t see any need for the law to ban it completely (and therefore stifling debate on this issue within the Church).

        As for the Church in Wales, the Archbishop of the Church actually supports same-sex marriage, so there’s simply no excuse for the government to exclude them from this law completely.
        http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2012/04/18/archbishop-of-wales-says-gay-marriage-deserves-the-welcome-of-the-church-91466-30786073/

        1. The problem is that the church is currently compelled to marry all couples that come to them (except those divorced). The law cannot be introduced as a “maybe” until their precious canon-law is amended to allow such things to be possible. Anything less then an express statement that this law does not extend to cover the Church of England risks undermining religious freedom.

          In regards to the Church in Wales then that is for the Archbishop to bring to their attention to make sure that this is acknowledged and amended.

      2. I think the Church in Wales, though it was disestablished in the 1920s, still has a legal obligation to marry people in Wales. As I understand it, this obligation (for the CoE and CiW) only exists because there was a period during which the Church of England (which the CiW was a part of at the time) was the only body that could perform marriage ceremonies. So much of this debate has revolved around obscure legal relics from centuries past that the religious conservatives have dug up to use as excuses (consummation being the silliest) – sometimes I wonder whether we would be better off scrapping our entire political and legal system and starting from scratch.

    2. The CofE wanted to BAN same-sex marriages COMPLETELY even outside of a religious context because they claim it will undermine their canon-law. Therefore to get around this the government said that there will be an exemption for CofE. By saying that they wanted NOBODY to have it, in the government’s eyes this was an expression that THEY didn’t want it.

      Maria Miller saw right through them.

    3. Ed Stevens 24 Jan 2013, 4:38pm

      The CofE have insisted on it and have been bending over backwards to appease Rome who they still look to in a perverted way for moral authority. Their behaviour reminds me of the beaten spouse who keeps going back for more beatings. The RC church doesn’t recognise that they there bishops and priests are even validly ordained, their services are invalid and Rome won’t even recognise them as a ‘church’ but refers to them be the lesser title of an ‘ecclesial communion’. One would have thought that Henry VIII efforts were in vain.

    4. Robert in S. Kensington 24 Jan 2013, 7:01pm

      Michael, they were banging on about being sued for not performing marriages for gay couples and demanded protection. That is exactly what they were given but they didn’t realise just how much and how far the government would go to appease them. Now some don’t like it and some still aren’t satisifed. I haven’t the slightest empathy for them since they brought it on themselves. The quadruple lock could have been avoided if they’d not had hysterics about the ECHR ruling against them which it wouldn’t anyway. No straight divorced couple has ever sued them for banning them from a religious ceremony, so why would a gay couple?

  17. This is good news although the thing looks riddled with caveats and conditions to placate the bigots – all section 28s in the making as far as I can tell. Let’s hope it gets cleaned up a bit as it makes its historic journey through parliament.

  18. This is fantastic! The UK government are proceeding with the equal marriage legislation. I hope they don’t opt for a second public consultation on the Bill like the Scottish government are doing.

  19. MerlynHerne 24 Jan 2013, 4:17pm

    Keeping my fingers and toes crossed that soon, every same sex couple that wishes to legally marry will be able to do so.

  20. The very day I brought my dead partners ashes back home the government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill for England and Wales has officially been introduced in the House of Commons, too little and much too late.

    1. Keith Francis Farrell 24 Jan 2013, 4:46pm

      sorry that you had to loose your partner before equality comes in for us. I do know how had it is to start living again after you have lost your partner. Even though I thought I had a new partner, one that will give me a reason to live again. This relationship is not going on any further. I have been used.
      I still miss my Ronnie every day. we were together from 26/02/1985 till 26/02/2009

      1. Thanks Keith, I’m happy that hopefully the bill will enable other same sex couples to marry but for my Jon and me the government has taken too long, we can now never be married.

    2. Peter & Michael 24 Jan 2013, 5:37pm

      Please accept our deepest condolences, we were so sorry to hear this news, and yes we agree with you, too little too late. With Love to you at this sad time.

      1. Thanks guys!
        I don’t blame anyone for my partners sudden death, it was just bad luck.

        As some of you may know I have been writing here at PN and lobbying MP’s about marriage equality for several years now, hopefully it won’t have been totally wasted effort even though it’s now too late for me and my love to benefit from a change in the law.

    3. Pavlos Prince of Greece 24 Jan 2013, 5:37pm

      My deep condolences for You … I can understand Your feelings now very much, because must carry this sad memories in my itself since death of my beloved mother 11 years ago. All is different after them, direct experience wit death is something absolutely different as you can imagine before, even few days are looking as a week, and after one month it seems as if entire epoch has passing since them. Words are powerless in the face of this. And against this as well, unfortunately.

      1. Thanks Pavlos.

        My heart feels like it’s been ripped out at the moment.

        If I ever finish filling in forms and jumping through the legal hoops in the aftermath of Jon’s death I might eventually get the chance to address my grief properly.

        1. Pavlos Prince of Greece 25 Jan 2013, 4:00am

          I can understand You absolutely. Legal procedures with all they formalities after death of my mother was then for me an certain form to rest with here a little longer together, as if only sense of this post-funeral ceremony was nothing less than continuation of here life, possibility, that ‘nothing has change’, and she can be alive for couple days more (here name in the lips of some clerks, her identity card, who still is valid … ). Body know not what grief is, he simple all ways do his own job.

  21. What about Civil Partnerships? Will they continue to be equal to Marriage? Or, at least as equal as they are now?
    Surely without mixed sex couples being able to have Civil Parnerships

  22. Great news, but to be honest I just want this all to be done and over with. The delay has led to all kinds of misinformation being spread about LGBT people and has given the antis too much time to spread their hate.

    I note that Christian Concern (can’t help but laugh ruefully at their name) are circulating a ‘prayer’ to stop equal marriage. Here’s an excerpt:

    “We pray that our Government will act with wisdom and righteousness, upholding marriage as the voluntary union of one man to one woman for life, for the good of all people.”

    But they’re not campaigning to ban divorce, you notice. Their only motivation seems to be to deprive LGBT people of rights. I can’t believe the venom and persistance with which they’re pursued their nasty agenda.

    Don’t underestimate them. Please write to your MP if you haven’t already. I’m sure the CC sheep have written already using the nice proforma provided by CC and their like and helped spread the lies about equal marriage.

  23. There have been some shenanigans going on here. A); Cameron appeasing his Tory backwoodsmen on the back benches with an In/Out referendum on Europe so they’ll be more likely to vote for the marriage bill; B); the MPs were just making public statements about their opposition to the marriage bill to save their political necks after they knew a deal was up and B); I’ve got it all wrong!

  24. As others have suggested, there should be a sense of urgency with which the Government goes about this.

    For the purposes of democracy the long consultative debate had to be aired and had to meet the public’s requirement that some dialogue has occurred……but any more dawdling would be damaging.

    I’ve been heartened by the extent to which people of all ages and creeds and class have effectively said ‘I don’t mind. None of my business’. BUT the sheer airtime given to those who are not merely equal marriage opponents, but continually violators of the Equality Act with their supplementary views, has been an awful sight.

  25. Gay activist Paul Mitchell 26 Jan 2013, 8:22am

    The bill is an excellent read indeed!

    It is about time the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2013 got introduced!

    Now hopefully the bill passes all three readings in the House of Commons and passes all three readings in the House of Lords!

    As I have said before I support religious freedom, and have the right not to perform gay marriages if it goes against there convictions -but that does not mean they should have the right to say bigoted things about gay men and lesbians and force there beliefs down our throats on to others!

    If the Bill passes the House of Commons – but fails in the House of Lords then the Parliament Act 1912 can force the bill to “royal assent” (signing into law). But then what if the Queen vetoes the signature or royal assent? What then?

    Can the House of Commons override the veto?

    All interesting questions!

    I hope the Queen should approve of it when the Bill is at her royal desk!

    A Queen should look after and support another Queen as they say!

    1. Gay Activist Paul Mitchell 26 Jan 2013, 8:36am

      The text of the bill is here:

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2012-2013/0126/2013126.pdf

      Progress of the bill is here:

      http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2012-13/marriagesamesexcouplesbill.html

      The title of the Bill is called the “Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2013″

  26. Gay Activist Paul Mitchell 26 Jan 2013, 8:31am

    The text of the bill is here:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2012-2013/0126/2013126.pdf

    Progress of the bill is here:

    http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2012-13/marriagesamesexcouplesbill.html

    The title of the Bill is called the “Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2013″

  27. I’m from the US and don’t really understand how the Parlimentary voting system works. So i have a question to those of you in the UK. I’ve read that the bill is likely to pass the House of Commons and then it will go to the House of Lords. However i have not been able to find any prognostications about the fate of the bill in the House of Lords. Is is likely to pass? If someone has a link to an article about that could you post it (if possible to post links on this site). Thanks!

    1. If we only knew the answer to that! The House of Lords is unelected and mostly comprises politically-appointed life peers though there are also 24 Bishops and 92 hereditary peers (now there’s a disgrace), the latter being overwhelmingly Conservative. The life peers split between Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour plus some cross-bench peers, allegedly of no party allegiance, such that no one party can be sure of control. It is generally more conservative than the House of Commons but not predictably so. It can be more libertarian than the government and is defensive of personal liberties. My instinct is there is just about a majority to get the measure through given the concessions made which effectively mean that it would take fresh legislation for equal marriages to take place in Church of England (and Church of Wales) churches even if those churches resolved to permit equal marriages before this Bill gets royal assent. I haven’t grasped quite why the Bill mentions the Quakers

  28. I cannot agree with such proposed marriages. I am not a bigot. The institution of marriage was introduced between hetrosexual couples to provide a basis for producing and raising children in a family environment. There is already provision of civil partnership – same sex couples cannot produce children by way of nature without scientific intervention. Are you all barking!

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