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Government publishes same-sex marriage bill for England & Wales

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    1. Thanks for the link!

      Extraordinary to see that the first third of those many pages are all crammed full of labyrinthine phraseology setting out how all homophobic religionists will be rendered legally safe and unbound by the terms of the Act!

      It indicates to me that it is the Government’s belief that this Bill will only pass if those who are against it can be mollified!

    2. Does this bill also allow opposite sex couples to have a civil partnership?


      1. Technically they already have them. If they don’t marry in a church it’s simply a civil union.

  1. Just get it passed, for God’s sake (pun intended).

  2. It still irritates me that these things take so long in the UK. Get it passed already.

    1. Your use of syntax suggests that you are American, since you use “already” instead of “now”. In the USA legislative processes take a long time, and campaigns, like that to repeal DOMA, having taken a very long time; much longer, in fact, than the passage to marriage equality in the UK will take. So it’s not fair at all to say that “these things take so long in the UK”; not, that is, unless you are willing to say the same about the USA.

    2. MerlynHerne 25 Jan 2013, 2:43pm

      Don’t know if you are American, but I am and I believe that England and Wales will hv marriage equality a fair bit before the US will. The only way we are likely to get it any time soon is if the Supremw Court mandates it in it’s decisions in the two cases due to come before it in March. At least England and Wales will not have to hash it out as many would like the US to: state by freakin’ state.

      1. You already have it in some states…and going by what I could see, it was passed extremely quickly.

  3. I’ll be very relieved when this is all over and, hopefully, we have equal marriage. The whole process has been very drawn out and stressful. It’s also allowed the antis to spread their lies.

    I know people here have criticised Stonewall for not speaking out for EM and being absent when we’d expect them to be out there promoting EM and counteracting the hatred and lies from some anti, but they are now reminding people to contact their MP:

    Please do if you haven’t already. Fundie ‘christian’ groups have been emailing their supporters constantly telling them to contact their MP, so make sure your MP knows your views too, and the facts about EM not the desperate lies from some religious people who think us less than them.

    1. Stonewall have been ideologically opposed to marriage (gay or straight) since the beginning. They only changed their official stance on gay marriage after Ben Summerskill got flamed on facebook. New technology (social media) is the only reason they are now accountable to the community they claim to represent. If you still give them money, you are a fool. They still are and have always been relics of insular 1970s feminist lesbian politics – who swapped dungarees for power suits in the Blair years.

      Ironically, their old school feminist anti-patriarchal take on marriage relies on a definition of marriage that is closer to the fundie Christian one than the sentimental/consumerist version favoured by the “marriage equality” crowd.

      1. You are entitled to your view Chipsy but I do not agree with you. Stonewall have concentrated their efforts on lobbying politicians. At the end of the day they are the ones who have the power to change the legislation and I feel quite confident this will all go through despite all the sabre rattling from the antis. CPs were a necessary first step in this and the vast majority of the population can see that the sky did not fall in when they were introduced. Timing is all and now we are moving to the final stage. There will be some nasty stuff again floating around but the majority of MPs according to reports have indicated they will vote for the Bill.

        1. Spin spin spin the “necessary first step” nonsense all you like. Their are some of us who remember the early days when Stonewall did everything they could to discourage gay people from using the word marriage. I guess the LGBT history books have already been rewritten.

          1. Yes I remember the early days of Stonewall. I worked with them closely when they were campaigning for the repeal of Section 28. Clearly we are coming from different perspectives here, but let’s celebrate when the Bill goes through.

          2. I see you didn’t actually deny that “Stonewall did everything they could to discourage gay people from using the word marriage” – but just shifted attention to another subject and talked about different perspectives.

      2. Yeh they always remind me of The Pagan Federation who apparently represent all Pagans!! It’s total rubbish and they like a bunch of old bickering women!

      3. I don’t give them money, Chipsy! I just agree with the bit about writing to your MP. I found Stonewall’s original opposition to EM outrageous (and very old-fashioned – marriage has moved on from ‘patriarchal traditions’)

  4. What about Scotland? Northern Ireland? Will these marriages be valid there?

    1. Equality Network 25 Jan 2013, 1:57pm

      The Scottish equal marriage bill was published in December, for public consultation. It will likely start passage through the Scottish Parliament in May/June. If both bills pass, same-sex marriages will be recognised cross-border. NI however will only recognise Scottish, English and Welsh same-sex marriages as CPs, as happens now with foreign same-sex marriages, because NI will almost certainly not be introducing same-sex marriage on the same timescale.

      1. @Equality Network

        I notice this article says that people currently in CPs will be able to turn them into marriages if they wish. I think this is a particularly nice touch and I wonder if the Scottish legislation will do likewise. Do you know if it will?

        1. Equality Network 25 Jan 2013, 5:00pm

          Yes it’s already in the Scottish draft bill. It will apply to future CPs as well as people already in a CP. That’s because people may in future choose a CP rather than a marriage, and many years later may want a marriage – they should not be blocked from converting. What’s not settled yet for Scotland or England & Wales is what the procedure will be for converting a CP to a marriage (and how much it will cost!).

          1. Thanks for the info!

    2. Richard Gadsden 25 Jan 2013, 5:30pm

      They will in Scotland (when the Scottish equal marriage act passes). People married in England and Wales or Scotland will be treated as civil partners in Northern Ireland. See Schedule 2.

  5. No- Scotland will bring forward its own legislation-but I’m afraid in NI the DUP have such a huge majority.

    Incidentally-they don’t agree with Civil Partnerships either- so at least 50 years behind the rest of us!!

    1. That There Other David 25 Jan 2013, 1:01pm

      NI will have to be dragged into line on this once it’s passed in the British Parliaments, just as happened with CPs. Paisley’s Free Presbyterian Church still openly preaches against us, even at non-related events such as Christenings according to one of my Ballymena relatives who attended one recently. They don’t accept that we should be allowed to exist, let alone marry. A hateful bunch who combine all the worst facets of organised religion.

  6. This “myth buster” published by the government is interesting (and should be brandished in the face of any C4M cretins who stray into your path

    1. Thanks for the link!

      The page has been well thought out, I think. Of particular interest to me was the following:

      “No employee will be required to promote or endorse views about same-sex marriage which go against their conscience. But it is an entirely different matter to act in an offensive or discriminatory way because of someone’s sexual orientation and the two issues should not be confused.”

      This indicates that the government’s attitude towards the homophobes is: “You have a right to believe what you wish: but if your beliefs are agin same-sex marriage, then you must keep it entirely to yourself!”

      Excellent. That’s exactly how homophobes should behave: by keeping their homophobia entirely to themselves!

    2. Another thank you from me, Sasha. What a fantastic document! It calmly and simply deals with all the myths about SSM. I think I’ll print one off and send it to my MP who seems to be doing rather a lot of fence-sitting and pays too much attention to ‘religious freedom’ when the proposed act doesn’t infringe on that at all.

      1. Oh yes, please do!

  7. And so this Bill is delivered into the centre of the Coliseum. What bitter and bloody fighting are we likely see now that its opponents will be free to savage it? Will it survive? And to what may it be subjected in the Lords? It’s all going to be very interesting indeed.

    Bravo to GulliverUK for getting the first Comment in today on the corresponding thread at The Guardian and already clocking up 96 “Recommends”!

    1. Although the view has been widely expressed the greatest challenges to this bill is anticipated to be in the House of Lords. I genuinely wish because of the opposition from the CoE resulting in the quadruple lock to appease them, there were also inclusive measures baring the “spiritual Lords” from their democratic vote.

      By allowing the “Spiritual Lords” to vote (as indicated) against this bill, would be a denial of human rights. A Constitutional rights they are in the house to protect!

      “Lords acts as constitutional safeguard that is independent from the electoral process and that can challenge the will of the people when the majority’s desires threaten key constitutional principles, human rights or rules of law”.

      Yes I am biased! I just want to see these 26 “Lords” take one on the chin!

  8. It looks like the government is going for a three-quarter-way house (the Civil Partnership Act being a half-way-house). The caveats which institutionalise the prejudice of a few noisy bigots will, in time, be viewed for what they are – new varieties of the hated Section 28 of old. There will still be much to camapign for after this bill has been passed but it is to be welcomed for the progress it does seek to make.

  9. MerlynHerne 25 Jan 2013, 2:47pm

    Just a question. How come N. Ireland and Scotland are not included in this legislation? I don’t quite understand why if they are part if the UK. Sorry if I sound really ignorant. My husband and I wish to emigrate to N. Ireland at some point but only if they have equal marriage.

    1. Scotland has different laws than England and Wales in a number of areas. Marriage is one of them. They are however in the process of getting their own equal marriage bill through.
      Northern Ireland have no such plans unfortunately and by all accounts this will not happen for a very long time. They have civil partnerships (grudgingly!) and I can’t see it as a welcoming region though that probably depends on who you know and interact with.
      The reason for the difference is that NI has an assembly that can decide such matters, Scotland has its own governing body and as far as marriage is concerned England and Wales are in this together even though Wales has an assembly as well (I think). Hope this helps.

      1. You’re right, Giselle. I’d just like to add for overseas readers that the Assemblies in Northern Ireland & Wales and the Scottish Parliament are devolved legislatures with varying degrees of limited powers a bit like State, Provincial or Territorial legislatures in countries like the USA, Canada or Australia. England has no equivalent legislature so all laws for England are handled by the UK Parliament in London.

        1. MerlynHerne 25 Jan 2013, 5:54pm

          Thank you both for your answers. It helps me to better understand the situation.

  10. What I want to know is why is it taking them so bloody long? In the US the decision was made, votes were taken and a short time later the laws were passed and couples were getting married…Here’s we have to wait a further two years. AND I would go as far as saying that they are not going to make it law until after the elections…hence the 2015 date line!

    1. Not federally in the US, Mickie, only in individual states. Introducing federal legislation will take much longer – much longer to happen and longer to implement, I’d guess too.

      Without federal legislation LGBT people aren’t properly protected nor do they have all the rights of marriage eg they can’t bring in a foreign spouse whereas they could if their spouse was of the opposite sex. They might get some rights or benefits in the state in which they married if they reside there, but move to another state and all those can evaporate and you’re treated like your not married.

    2. I thought the 2015 date was from before? You know before they realised they had to get a move on.
      The bill is going to be known as the ‘Marriages (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2013’ so I would have thought that it comes into effect this year. If it goes through and goes through within this session of course.
      Fingers crossed!

      1. Richard Gadsden 25 Jan 2013, 5:35pm

        It has to pass before the end of the session in May.

    3. Jock S. Trap 25 Jan 2013, 4:37pm

      I think the plan is for it to be finally made into law Spring 2014.

  11. Hi all,

    Marriages from england and wales will only be recognised as civil partnerhip’s in Northern Ireland.
    In Northern Ireland, civil partnerships are not the same as marriage – in that only heterosexual couples can jointly adopt.
    Please if you are interacting with any MPs encoruage them to amend this part of the bill.

  12. I’m totally up for equal marriage. I don’t understand the equality in now retaining civil partnerships exclusively for same sex couples. Either open them up to straight couples or phase them out.

    1. Maybe they’re hoping they’ll die a natural death by themselves? I’d think anyone with a CP who wants to convert it to marriage will be able to if they choose to do so.

  13. Kirsty Boorman 25 Jan 2013, 8:11pm

    As the conservative party is generally stuffed with lawyers these days, perhaps this is not such a egalitarian move after all? Perhaps it is a way to halt the alarming decline in the divorce rate because straights are not bothering with marriage? More marriage equals more divorce equals more money for divorce lawyers.

    1. de Villiers 25 Jan 2013, 8:46pm

      Unlike chuka Umuna who is a city lawyer?

  14. Found this today… made me laugh….

    Heterosexual couples will only be allowed to marry whilst same-sex couples will have the choice of either marriage or a civil partnership.

    If a same-sex married couple move to Scotland or Northern Ireland their marriage will only be recognised as a civil partnership.

    If one member of a heterosexual marriage changes their gender the marriage will be allowed to continue (which is the opposite to the case at present), but civil partnerships will not be able to continue unless both partners change sex simultaneously.

    Only heterosexual couples can divorce on grounds of adultery and the adultery must take place between two people of different sexes.

    Only heterosexual marriages can be annulled due to non-consummation.

    … what a mess

    1. silverythoughts 26 Jan 2013, 4:09pm

      The awkward moment when i try and click a thumbs up on my mobile but click report instead…
      But anyways, you make a very good point that there still needs some clearing up on three matter of civil partnerships for opposite sex couples…

  15. The bill has divided Conservatives, with former Defence Secretary Liam Fox recently describing it as “ill thought through and constitutionally wrong”.

    How can something be constitutionally wrong in a country that has no constitution?

  16. GulliverUK 29 Jan 2013, 1:38pm

    Email your MP in 60 seconds !!!

    Tell your friends and get your family to sign if they support you.

  17. Stephen Frost 6 Feb 2013, 12:11am

    If this bill only affects England and Wales, why were the NI and Scottish MPs allowed to vote on it? The UK should be the UK. Equal marriage for ALL.

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