PinkNews.co.uk will be updating the website throughout the debate for same-sex marriage in the House of Commons
Yes: 105 No:18 – The Scotland equal marriage bill has been passed.
Yes: 105 No:18 – The Scotland equal marriage bill has been passed.
Alex Neil has promised that the Scottish government will treat the right of overseas civil partners to marry in Scotland as a priority.
Alex Neil MSP: “Freedom of speech is alive and well on all sides in Scotland, and that’s the way it should be.”
Jackie Baillie MSP: “This is about a nation that cherishes love.”
She says “we are not redefining marriage, we are extending the eligibility for marriage.”
Jackie Baillie MSP says the previous comments were “out of step” even in light of people who have opposed the bill.
We’re currently in the closing speeches of the debate.
Margaret Mitchell MSP prattles on: “Equality is about fairness, it is not about making everyone the same.”
She says there is “nothing fair” about making people feel apprehensive for opposing same-sex marriage.
Margaret Mitchell MSP says the bill “will be passed this evening…it has been a foregone conclusion.”
She says she is “disappointed” that the previous wrecking amendments have not been passed, as these would have made the bill more “robust” apparently.
Jean Urquheart MSP points out that several countries across the world have already legalised same-sex marriage.
“Marriage does not belong to any one organisation…Same-sex couples as human beings do not wish to be treated differently to anyone else.”
Jim Eadie MSP: “This Bill is life changing.”
He points out how the Scottish bill will introduce trans and intersex equality, not just equality for gay couples.
Jim Eadie MSP: “I am immensely proud this parliament will pass this bill into law this evening.”
He says the bill is the hallmark of a country that is “comfortable in its own skin.”
Patrick Harvie MSP says there is still a “vociferous” opposition to same-sex marriage equality, with some people “baffled” that equal marriage should be treated with respect.
“Most people who get married in Scotland these days choose not to involve religion in any way,” he reminds the parliament. “I have yet to hear any clear, coherent, or moral argument why same-sex relationships are inferior.”
Patrick Harvie MSP says he imagines how passing this legislation must have felt when he was coming out.
“It’s taken us a little bit longer than Westminster to get to this point,” he says, but points out they now have a “better bill as a result.”
Christian Allard MSP says that there are still a lot of people out there with prejudices.
“We need as a parliament to have introduced this bill.”
Mary Scanlon says she has received emails saying she would be “struck down by the wrath of God” for her support of same-sex marriage.
Mary Scanlon MSP says she “fully respects” her colleagues who choose to oppose same-sex marriage.
She points out that she previously thought abstaining was the right thing to do, but she will now be supporting the bill.
She says the “tipping point” was in reading the emails that came in – the “language” of people who opposed the bill ultimately made her change her mind.
Nigel Don SNP says as a Christian at Stage 1 he found it “very difficult” to accept the legislation.
“We didn’t have a choice to go an alternative route. It said on its face that we were going to redefine marriage.
“I felt that the government should have brought something forward regarding civil partnerships.”
He moves on: “So having decided that we were going to redefine marriage, we have to address the practical consequences of the legislation.”
He says he will support the bill tonight.
Kevin Stewart MSP: “My constituents have told me to support same-sex marriage by 10 to 1.”
Kevin Stewart mocks MSPs who pleaded that the parliament pass amendments to “show that they have been listening.”
Mary Fee MSP says the work of the Scottish Government is to be commended. “Today I will be proud to vote for equal marriage for Scotland.”
Mary Fee MSP disputes the “evil consequences” of same-sex marriages proposed by some of the other MSPs.
She asks of efforts campaigning against same-sex marriage: “Where is the campaign to stop divorce?”
John Finnie MSP: “There is no hierarchy. You either believe in equality or you don’t.”
He says it is clear that one person’s “morality” is another person’s prejudice.
The aforementioned rainbow from earlier today:
John Mason MSP says we are an “untidy” society who are as not as Christian as he would like.
[Apologies for the downtime. The site has experienced a large number of visitors.]
John Mason MSP: “It would be good today to reach a decision and get on with our business.”
He says, we need to be “realistic,” that this is quite a serious change, and that it “undermines” the views of some people in society.
He talks about “religious discrimination” again.
Jim Hume MSP says “getting the balance right” has been key to the equal marriage debate.
“I don’t buy the argument that gay people should be happy with what they have, as if they have already been given some special concession.”
Linda Fabiani MSP says she is brought back to the ethic that “this is absolutely the right thing to do.”
She says she wants to live in a society where people do not have to hide who they are.
“Yes we have done something pretty wonderful today, but let’s not kid ourselves that it solves everything.”
Drew Smith MSP: “Equality in law will not mean the end discrimination, but it is a good first step”
He says the discrimination and oppression faced by gay and lesbian people across the world has been “a constant and near universal fear.”
He says the Sochi Winter Games, coming this week, will “remind us that the world is not so small.”
Richard Lyle MSP says he regrets “being out of step” with the majority on the issue of equal marriage.
“It is my conviction that marriage is a unique relationship between a man and a woman,” he goes on.
He complains he has been “branded homophobic,” saying he has always brought his children up to respect people no matter “what they are.”
…And then he pulls the “I have gay friends” argument.
James Dornan MSP says this bill “strengthens marriage” against Johnstone’s consternations.
“Today is one of those rare days where you can say as a politician ‘I’ve made a difference’. I think that’s something we should all be proud of.
“If today was my last day in Parliament I could leave office knowing I’d really accomplished something.”
He points out the sunshine of the day of a same-sex marriage with regards to “that UKIP comment.”
Alex Johnstone MSP says he will “vote with the minority.”
However, he want to draw attention to the “respect” between the two sides of the debate.
“I hope and pray we will have the positive outcomes that some have been talking about,” although he says we should be prepared if “we are not as lucky.”
Margaret McCulloch: “I support same-sex marriage as a matter of principle.”
She says much has been made about the state of public opinion. “It has even been suggested that the bill be put to a referendum.”
She says she does not agree with the tyranny of the majority on the rights of the minority.
On the right to express a “traditional view of marriage,” she says this is already covered by freedom of speech rights. It does not apply to the bill.
“The bill does not curtail religious freedom, it enhances it.”
“Words and definitions go a long way towards challenging attitudes.”
Marco Biagi MSP brings to attention the importance of trans recognition in the Scotland equal marriage bill.
Marco Biagi MSP pleads that Scotland extends the liberty of tolerance granted for migrants towards people of a different sexual orientation.
“Civil partners” makes us sound like “we are in business together, rather than in a loving relationship.”
“Religions can and do refuse to marry people, that is not going to change.”
Jackie Baillie MSP points out that no one will be “compelled” to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.
Jackie Baillie MSP says “ultimately, this is a government bill.”
She says she has to say that views are passionately held against the bill, and she has to respect that, but attitudes are changing.
She quotes that the 2010 survey of people in Scotland in favour of marriage was 64%
Reports are coming in that a rainbow has indeed emerged over the parliament as the debate goes on.
Alex Neil MSP reminds the parliament that there is nothing in the bill that “impacts on freedom of speech.”
Alex Neil MSP says “today marks a historic day.”
“We’re doing a remarkable thing here today,” he continues.
The debate for the motion on the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Bill begins.
Alex Neil MSP’s following technical amendments agreed to.
This concludes consideration of amendments towards the bill.
All grouped five technical amendments on the issue of obtaining a GRC have passed.
After vote, amendment 30 Not Agreed 100/30
Amendment 4, 5, 6 agreed to.
Amendment 29 not moved.
Amendment 30 agreed to.
Amendments put forward on the issue of obtaining a full gender recognition certificate.
Patrick Harvie MSP withdraws amendment 28. No objections.
Patrick Harvie MSP is winding up his amendment.
Alex Neil MSP says the government has already published a remit for a review on civil partnerships.
He also suggests, in terms of time scale, that they get the job of the current legislation done as quickly as possible.
Mark McDonald MSP says he has sympathy with Patrick Harvie’s amendment, although there is the potential argument that civil partnerships would no longer become necessary due to equal marriage.
Stewart Maxwell says it is a matter of “freedom of choice.”
He disagrees that it is a choice between apples and oranges and says that sometimes a person has a “choice between two apples.”
He says he would urge a vote of “no” to the amendment.
Marco Biagi MSP says that while some may see civil partnerships as tainted by irredeemable discrimination, marriage itself may be seen as tainted by a history of sexism.
Marco Biagi MSP quotes Norman Tebbit’s outrageous remark that heterosexuals are “discriminated against” with regards to civil partnerships.
– Although he says that the exclusivity of civil partnerships is still discriminatory for LGBT people, as it is a “mark of difference.”
He says it is a “little bit distasteful” in the same way as wearing a badge which say ‘I am gay’.
Amendment 28 introduced by Patrick Harvie MSP seeking a timescale for a civil partnership review.
“Not a sunset clause” amendment Not Agreed 100 to 19.
He presses his amendment, in spite of obvious disagreement.
John Mason MSP is wrapping up his proposed amendment.
Alex Neil MSP agrees with Patrick Harvie. He calls the clause “destabilising.”
“It would be a very wrong signal that we send out to the entirety of Scottish society.”
Patrick Harvie MSP: “Let us welcome the real consequences of this legislation. Let us welcome them with joy.”
Patrick Harvie MSP comments that the “signal” this amendment would send is that same-sex marriages would remain an “open question.”
He asks “is there any other category that members would like to put on hold for the next 5 years?”
He agrees that it stipulates that same-sex marriage can only have negative consequences.
John Mason MSP moves forward his final amendment for a statutory review of equal marriage, which he says is “not a sunset clause”.
Amendment 26 Not Agreed 96/19
Amendment 3 for protecting views against same-sex marriage Not Agreed 95/19
Amendment 1 Not Agreed 98/20
Amendment 2 Not Agreed 98/27
Patrick Harvie MSP says that homophobia does exist in our society and these amendments could legitimise it
Bob Doris MSP agrees with Mr Eadie’s contribution regarding amendment 1.
He says he doesn’t think it is the case that people who oppose same-sex marriage are necessarily homophobic however.
SNP’s Kevin Stewart said he has always had an interest in fostering and adoption.
“The consideration of that child’s future is absolutely paramount.”
He says what he cannot understand is why Lyle privileges protections for one set of beliefs over all other sets of beliefs.
Murdo Fraser MSP speaks in support of amendment 2.
He says faith-based charities could suffer as a result of changing views of marriage equality, even if they aren’t shut down.
Nigel Don says the bill “changes the 2000+ year old definition of marriage.” He says that amendment 26 is not discriminatory in this context.
Jim Eadie MSP disagrees with amendment 1.
“Speaking as someone who is both gay and adopted,” he calls the amendment discriminatory and unnecessary.
“The best interests of the child” should be the paramount consideration of adoption agencies, he says.
Margaret Mitchell speaks in support of amendment 26, which she says “seeks to ensure the rights to freedom of speech” for religious groups and others against same-sex marriage.
She says there is an “over-zealous, politically correct” tone to the legislation.
She reminds the chamber that Richard Lyle’s amendment has already been discussed previously.
She says “belief in traditional marriage is not an issue.”
Jackie Bailie MSP says she is “totally opposed” to amendment 30, which she calls a wrecking amendment.
She says it “raises questions” about the status of other beliefs.
Amendment 2 put forward for protecting charitable organisations’ views against same-sex marriages.
Richard Lyle MSP puts forward amendment 1 for protecting foster carers’ opposition to same-sex marriage.
“You have to experience adopting a child to understand what couples go through.”
Moving on from amendment 30, Siobhan McHanon MSP puts forward amendment 3 to “eliminate discrimination” against religious institutions who “express the existing view of traditional marriage.”
The proposed amendment is for people to express opposition to equal marriage “without fear.”
Because people who oppose marriage equality are a discriminated minority.
“If I believe everything I read on facebook, there are going to be thousands of people debating against me next election,” he says.
John Mason MSP introduces the amendment regarding the “minority view” that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
He says there is a “distinct lack of respect” for people who oppose same-sex marriage.
The final result is Not Agreed.
Voting begins on amendment 25.
“Not agreed” on amendment 25.
– 5 minute suspension commences.
John Mason says Jackie Bailie’s remark that the bill is “not necessary” will be echoed later, although he suggests that the role of religious freedom is still in a “grey area.”
Alex Neil MSP: “I do not think there is a need to borrow terminology from the UK act.”
He says the bill already does not provide a “duty” to opt in.
“The amendment proposed today could actually cause confusion.”
Chic Brodie MSP says the “circle” of religious freedom must be “squared” in the bill.
MSP Patrick Harvie accuses John Mason of moving away from “religious freedom,” by only focusing on the ‘opting out’ aspect of freedom.
“There needs to be the liberty to say yes as well as no.”
The Equality Network has described the amendment as “unnecessary,” she reminds the parliament.
Jackie Baillie MSP calls for more clarification on the proposed amendment.
Marco Biagi MSP says that one of the key concerns is whether there are any means under human rights regulations whether a church could be forced to carry out same-sex marriages.
He outlines the difference between the Church of England and the Church of Scotland.
“At a certain level, the church of england has a public function.”
In Scotland, the church has never been a part of the state, he says.
“I accept that the government has built in safeguards on what has been a very controversial issue. However, I would argue that there should be some improvements.”
He says amendment 25 is based on an amendment accepted by England and Wales parliament.
The amendment is supposed to give protection for “religious liberty.” (No one should be “compelled” to administer same-sex marriages against their beliefs)
Amendment 25 before John Mason MSP called to the floor.
Proceedings for the equal marriage bill are now outlined before the Scottish parliament.
Topical Questions begins.
Stage 3 proceedings on the marriage bill should begin at 2:20pm
The Marriage and Civil Partnerships bill is being introduced to the floor.
Check back here from 2pm for live updates on the Scottish Parliament’s final debate on the Marriage and Civil Partnerships Bill!
That’s all for now! Join us for the next debate which we will be liveblogging.
For now, here is the article if you want to spread the good news about tonight’s vote, and here is an opinion piece by MSP Marco Biagi who spoke passionately in favour of equal marriage, which expresses his deeper views on the debate.
More to follow!
The Marriage and Civil Partnerships bill for Scotland has passed its Stage 1 Debate with a massive 98 votes to 15! (5 abstained)
The vote is about to happen!!!!!!!!!
The debate is over on the Marriage and Civil Partnerships Bill. Next up is the vote! Watch this space!
“It’s not the text of the bill that matters, it is the message that it sends about 21st Century Scotland”, Mr Neil begins to wrap up. He says all Scottish people are “All Jock Tamson’s Bairns”, and are all entitled to equal marriage.
Hanzala Malik asks what protections would be there if there was a successful appeal to the European Court against the bill.
Mr Neil maintains that he believes no challenge to the bill would ever be successful.
Mr Neil uses the example of an organist refusing to take part in a same-sex wedding ceremony to show that they would be protected by the “balanced package”, of the bill.
Annabel Goldie, Conservative, says she has a concern over an issue to do with renting out halls for wedding receptions etc. Mr Neil says the protections apply, and that he will issue the legal documents to do with the protections.
Addressing a question from Jamie McGrigor, Mr Neil says he can “absolutely” assure that religious institutions will be protected by the bill, should they not wish to perform same-sex marriages.
He says there are four levels of protection, and that it is “totally compatible”, with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Speaking passionately for equal marriage, he put it simply: “Those previously ineligible for marriage will now be eligible for marriage”, and that religious organisations can perform same-sex marriages should they want to.
He says the only way it touches on religious institutions is to allow them to choose to perform same-sex marriage, should they want to.
Mr Neil goes on to defend the legislation, saying it is about legal marriage, and that it does not interfere with religious marriage.
Alex Neil returns to conclude, saying tonights debate is one of the most powerful the chamber has ever seen.
Ms Baillie wraps up by asking whether MSPs would want their LGBT child to feel excluded, if equal marriage did not pass.
She speaks of a togetherness in the agreement across the chamber on the issue, remarking that it, and Elaine Murray’s comments on being “vertically challenged”, highlights the diversity of humanity.
Jackie Baillie speaks passionately to say that it is important that religious concerns are addressed, but that it should not stop Scotland from legalising equal marriage.
She says the SNPs who have spoken against equal marriage tonight are “simply wrong”.
Ms Baillie lists that it is long ago (up to 12 years), since countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium legalised equal marriage, to highlight that now is the time for equal marriage.
Ms Baillie says she disagrees with Mary Fee’s assertion that moves towards equality are moving “at a snail’s pace”, noting the rapid changes in opinion on equal marriage.
She jokes that it is “dangerous” to disagree with Ms Fee.
Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour, returns to conclude.
He concludes to reflect on the removal of Section 28, the lowering of the age of consent, saying that the chamber has the “privilege” of allowing Scotland to progress, and to strengthen the “wonderful institution of marriage”
Mr Lamont says that his constituents, particularly younger voices, meet the suggestion of opposition to the bill with “bafflement”.
Patrick Harvie speaks in to ask him to acknowledge that most marriages are civil in Scotland currently, and religions should support civil marriage with a view for equality.
Mr Lamont defends the bill in saying that it will give religions “greater freedom”, to make up their minds on equal marriage, but that they will not be forced to.
Saying he understands if they did, but he would be said if religions did not embrace same-sex marriage.
“I believe that this change is not only right, but inevitable,” he urges those opposed to ask themselves whether they want their religion, church and society to fail to embrace change.
John Lamont, Conservative takes to the floor to say that the “emotive” equal marriage debate has engaged many across Scotland.
He says speaking as a Church of Scotland elder, he understands religious concerns about equal marriage, as well as a desire to remain up-to-date.
The speaker calls the move to the wind up speeches.
Mr Finnie says some people’s “strange obsessions with physical acts”, alarmed him.
He is wearing a great tie.
Mr Finnie said as a police officer in the 1970s, he learned laws against homosexuals which seemed “bizzarre”.
John Finnie, is the final speaker in the open debate, says he “fully endorses” the bill.
He accepts that the vote will pass “eventually”, but says he is standing up for his constituents.
“People who wish to adopt will be questioned on their views [on equal marriage]”, according to Mr Lyle.
Mr Lyle says he is concerned that some doctors and foster carers will be deemed unsuitable for their jobs if they oppose the bill.
He said he used to be a foster carer and that he feels because he speaks out against equal marriage, he would not be accepted as a foster carer now.
Richard Lyle, SNP, says he does not believe the bill is “watertight”, and that people who oppose it will be “persecuted in the workplace”.
Ms McTaggart has said she believes in both secular or religious ceremonies, as well as straight civil partnerships.
She says if straight couples are not offered civil partnerships, it is unfair.
Noting her own Christian values, she says she understands religious concerns, but that she is reassured by protections in the bill for religious groups.
Anne McTaggart, Labour, says she strongly supports the bill because of prejudice.
Not only because of prejudice on individuals, but because she believes it holds Scotland back.
“Religion should not be a barrier to this legislation. It is highly important to the legislation”, he says.
He says: “there’s no losers in this, there are only winners”.
James Dornan says he does not support equal marriage because constituents said he should, but because he personally supports it.
He says noone will be “less married”, because of equal marriage.
Ms Mitchell says that “the pendulum has swung too far”, in “seeking to redefine marriage”, through the bill.
She says she strongly condemns any attacks on the LGBT community, including people feeling they must stay in the closet, or be forced into straight marriages.
“There is nothing remotely fair in seeing to dismiss the deeply held religious beliefs”, of Scottish people, she concludes.
Margaret Mitchell, Conservative, says equal marriage sets “two strands of equality”, religious and LGBT, against each other.
Acknowledging that she is in the minority view, she says she will not give way.
Elaine Murray ends an emotive speech in support, saying she doesn’t choose to be short as much as gay people don’t choose to be gay.
Elaine Smith wraps up an emotive speech by saying that gay people don’t choose to be gay as much as she doesn’t choose to be short.
Patrick Harvie takes to the floor. (The speaking time has been reduced to 5 minutes).
He speaks of being bisexual, and says he is unsure on whether he will get married, but that choice is key.
He says in his lifetime he has seen society begin to fall apart, and argues that the Parliament should work to “strengthen marriage”, and that he worries that it is a “wrong priority at the wrong time”.
Alex Johnstone, Conservative, takes to the floor.
Ms McAlpine says she hopes the passing of the bill will show Scotland is a tolerant society.
She says her cousin died three years ago, and that his partner was treated with respect, and was the chief mourner. Ms McAlpine says older members of her family reached a point of acceptance, without abandoning their religious beliefs.
She notes her friendships with gay friends, particularly a close school friend Cal, as part of her reasons for supporting the bill.
Ms McAlpine says she supports the principle of equal marriage, but that her reason for speaking was personal.
She says she did not know anyone who was gay when she was growing up in a Catholic family, but that she remembers perceptions of gay people changing.
She notes the “preposterous” allegations that gay unions are “tainted”.
Equal marriage cannot come too soon for Scotland “Equal Marriage cannot come too soon for Scotland. It is wrong… http://t.co/7J0SJyllkK
— NE Scot Lib Dems (@NEScotLibDems) November 20, 2013
She notes the moves forward for equality in recent years.
Joan McAlpine, SNP says she will vote for the bill because it is about “respect”.
Jim Hume says he is proud to be part of the Scottish Parliament, but also notes the EU countries, and US states which have allowed equal marriage.
He says the Lib Dems believe in a freedom of expression”, and that his party supports the progress of the bill. He notes the deletion of historic convictions from when it was illegal to be gay, and the removal of the ban on gay men giving blood.
Mr Hume notes the concerns of religious bodies that they may be forced to perform same-sex marriages, but says “I simply don’t buy that”.
He echoes the historic nature of some religious institutions to turn down some opposite-sex couples who wished to get married, saying he does not recall any court cases there.
Jim Hume, Liberal Democrat, takes to the floor in support of equal marriage.
Mr Stewart urges MSPs to think of their children and grandchildren who may grow up to be LGBT, and to allow them to “share the happiness and the love, and the trials and the tribulations of marriage”, he gets more applause as he urges members to vote in favour oft the bill.
He says he has respect for religious freedom, but says that while religious people have said they feel marginalised, gay people have “felt marginalised for oh so many years”. (He gets applause from the chamber).
Mr Stewart goes on to discuss attempting to hide his own sexual orientation growing up… He says he believes in tradition marriage, because it served him and his siblings well, but that it “should be extended to all people… I think that is only right.”
Kevin Stewart, SNP, says that a large number of his constituents hope that he will vote yes
He reads a letter from a constituent saying: “As a gay teenager I cannot state strongly enough the impact that equal marriage would have on me personally”, and society.
Going on, he notes that he was a teenager during Section 28, and the AIDS epidemic, saying the letter from his constituent made him think back to his own teenage years.
Ms Smith says the bill will result in “discrimination and legal action against many of [Scotland’s] citizens”.
Gallagher’s assertion goes on to say that some politicians only support it because they think they think it will get them “a few votes”.
She notes Scottish author Tom Gallagher who said: “The arrival of gay marriage only benefits a small group of activists”.
She says there are no safeguards for freedom of speech for religious groups. Ms Smith goes on to say that hundreds of her constituents have asked her to vote against it.
She said that she was concerned that MSPs who signed the Equality Network’s equal marriage pledge felt like the had to vote in favour of same-sex marriage. (?)
“Signing a pledge and voting for legislation are different things”.
Elaine Smith stands by an assertion that she believes in “live and let live”.
Ms Smith says the Catholic Church would not be able to afford a legal challenge, if they refused to perform same-sex marriages.
Elaine Smith, Labour MSP, says that those opposed can “disagree with respect” for one another, but says she has been “likened to the Ku Klux Klan”, since she does not support same-se marriage.
He notes the choice of NHS staff whether to perform adoptions or not, comparing it to equal marriage.
“I do not seek to impose Christian values… I do seek equality for everyone… but I am not convinced, I will vote against the bill”.
Mr Mason asks, despite stark guidelines within the bill to the contrary, whether, if the European Court of Human Rights gets involved, it will “become compulsory” for churches to perform same-sex marriage.
He says he wants to show his love for Jesus, and echoes the concern of safeguards for religious freedoms.
Giving way, he is asked whether he agrees on whether there is a majority of people in Scotland who are just “puzzled” because equal marriage has not taken place yet.
Mr Mason says debate is what the Parliament is for, and that it Parliament should “tread lightly”, so as not to offend Scottish people.
John Mason, SNP for Glasgow Shettleston, commends the “reasonable tone” at committee stage’s debate.
She says the 2009 legislation to allow same-sex couples to adopt was also “long overdue”.
Ms Fee rejects the idea that allowing same-sex couples would take away from existing marriages. She says she finds it difficult to see how anybody’s freedoms would be infringed by the bill.
Ms Fee says: Those against the bill use the complementarity of opposite sex couples as a basis for marriage.
The ability to procreate does not necessarily make a perfect union, and says that the idea that same-sex couples cannot parent children adds to the stigma experienced by single parents.
She compares the fight for equal marriage to the Suffragettes’ fight to legalise the voting age.
Comparing the introduction of voting for women over 30 in 1918, she says there is a “two-tier discriminatory system”, with civil partnerships, and that equal marriage is necessary.
Mary Fee, Labour MSP, says today is “Truly historic and long overdue.”
“When I came out, it was the time I stopped looking at the people around me and thinking I wanted to be like them, I began to want the same rights as them”, -Marco Biagi.
Marco Biagi continues that civil partnerships were a “welcome step,” but says it reminded him of “ladies degrees”, which were a substitute for equality.
He says civil partnerships are “separate but equal, but never equal… they are not enough”.
Returning to the concerns that religious institutions may be forced to perform same-sex weddings, he notes that in none of the nine countries in Europe with same-sex marriage have seen that happen.
He says Scotland has a chance to make “a picture of our society that young people can look at for generations to come, and see themselves in it,” saying that everyone, including religious young people, should be able to feel comfortable as part of society.
Mr Biagi says he “did not see [himself]”, in the then representation of gay and lesbian people in society when he was growing up.
Marco Biagi of the SNP, speaks personally to say that it is “more fundamentally more than a question”.
He says that when he was growing up, he “was afraid”, when he realised he was gay.
The speaker indicates the beginning of the open section of the debate, and that 20 MSPs have said they wish to talk.
She says she believes that “marriage is something to be believed in”, and strongly supports the bill.
“We tell our children that you’re good enough to serve in our armed forces, serve in our schools, but you are not good enough to marry”, if they are in a same-sex couple.
“That apartheid message, that same-but-different is what is reflected in every hurtful comment,” whether that be at school, at work, or in life in general.” Ms Davidson continues.
Ms Davidson calls civil partnerships as a “facsimile of marriage, and that she does not want another generation of gay people to grow up thinking marriage is not an option.
Jamie Hepburn interjects, noting his own young children, and asking what Ms Davidson thinks will happen if the bill fails to pass. She replies to note research about homophobic bullying, and the urgent need for equal marriage to change opinions.
She says the “unthinking right to marriage”, is already available to the leaders of Labour and the Liberal Democrats, but that she wishes to see it extended to same-sex couples.
Ruth Davidson, the openly gay Conservative MSP, and the UK’s most senior openly gay politician takes to the floor beginning a personal example of why she supports equal marriage.
She notes the stability of her parents’ marriage, saying it allowed her and her sister to “become who we want to be”.
She says the bill must be made more robust by the Government, but that “it is time for change, it is time to support equal marriage”, and urges members to support it.
“I believe equal marriage is an idea whose time has come”, she says she supports the bill strongly, in principle.
Ms Baillie, goes on to defend the religious freedoms put in place by the bill. She says that nothing will change in religious freedoms, noting that churches can already refuse to marry couples.
“It’s whether they love each other that matters”, Ms Baillie continues.
Using Portugal’s 2009 law to introduce equal marriage, noting the 81% who, when polled, said they identified as Catholic.
Ms Baillie notes that all European countries which have recently introduced equal marriage law.. She goes on to Canada, the US, and other countries around the world.
Interestingly, she notes that in the least affluent areas of Scotland, 67% of people supported equal marriage, and in the most affluent areas, 63%.
She notes, however that there is great support for legislation to introduce it.
“This cuts right across our country and right across society”.
55% of Catholics supported equal marriage she says.
She says attitudes in Scotland are changing. She notes the percentage of people in support of equal marriage had risen by 20% in five years.
“It’s about fairness, it’s about social justice… This is about how we see ourselves as a nation, and how others see us”, Ms Baillie continues.
Ms Baillie says that because there is a free vote, it is down to each MSP to make a personal decision on equal marriage.
Jackie Baillie Labour MSP of Dumbarton, commends the Scottish Government for the bill.
Ms McCulloch paraphrases the Robert Louis Stephenson quote: “Let them agree to differ; for who knows but what agreeing to differ may not be a form of agreement rather than a form of difference?”
She notes research that it would not change thew ay teachers teach about marriage, but that it is just “another strand in equality an diversity”.
She agrees with Mr Neil to say that the bill looks at lowering the age which people can apply for a gender recognition certificate, saying it may not be within the scope of the bill, but it should be included.
She notes the “spousal veto”, saying the committee thinks it should be removed.
She note that civil partnerships entered into abroad should not have to be dissolved, and that couples should have equal rights whether they enter into one abroad, or in Scotland.
In line with the Marriage Scotland act 1977, Ms McCulloch says it is important that the bill will put religious and civil celebrants on the same footing, noting that Humanists have been allowed to provide wedding ceremonies since 2005.
She says that the Equality Network asserted that same-sex couples being allowed to marry is about love.
She notes the Quakers’ view that the “complementary nature” of any couple.
Ms McCulloch refuses to give way, as she needs time to complete her report on the bill.
She says she hopes the “wider debate on equal marriage can proceed in that dignified way”.
Margaret McCulloch speaks on behalf of the Equal Opportunities Committee takes to the floor calling it an “emotive issue”.
As he concludes, Mr Neil is applauded. The speaker reminds the gallery not to applaud.
Mr Neil strongly urges MSPs to vote in favour of equal marriage to”further promoting equality and diversity in our society”.
Speaking of gender-neutral marriages, and spousal consent, Mr Neil says: “It is spousal consent to stay in a marriage, and it takes two to stay in a marriage”.
John Mason asks whether Mr Neil agrees with the QC’s guidance that the legal protections would have “no legal impact”.
Mr Neil denies this, calling it “nonsense”.
He agrees that it is “empowering” for religious institutions to be allowed to make a choice, noting that Quakers (to note one), want to be allowed to perform same-sex marriages.
Mr Neil, when asked, says it is inappropriate to discuss the specific issue of the Scottish Catholic adoption charity which was recently told it must accept applications from same-sex couples, or risk losing its charity status, has called the raising of children by gay couples “a terrible social experiment”.
He says the bill “establishes an opt-in system… and makes it clear that there is no duty to opt-in” by any religious institutions which do not wish to do so.
Mr Neil goes on to say that “this government believes in religious tolerance,” and the bill will be “balanced”, to allow religious institutions to decide their stance on equal marriage.
Mr Neil speaks of how the bill clarifies the position for Humanist celebrants, civil marriages and civil unions.
He says that he wants the bill to ensure that the”dignity and solemnity” of marriages is upheld.
The debate is starting as Alex Neil introduces the Marriage and Civil Partnerships bill to the floor.
Check back here from 5pm for live updates on the Scottish Parliament’s Stage 1 Debate on the Marriage and Civil Partnerships Bill!
The equal marriage bill for England and Wales has now passed its Third Reading in the House of Lords. Amendments will be introduced in the House of Commons tomorrow evening, and it should receive Royal Assent soon.
Baroness Stowell is giving her final speech. She expresses respect for those opposed to equal marriage.
Baroness Thornton congratulates opponents for testing the equal marriage bill to “within an inch of its life”.
Baroness Thornton says she regrets that those opposed to the equal marriage bill do not share the joy of those in support of it.
Lord Dear has risen, saying he will “be brief”, giving a closing speech. He previously introduced amendments to wreck the bill.
He said he, and opponents to equal marriage were “more than a little surprised at the level of support the bill has had within this House”.
Lord Fowler: “The Government have done a great thing here, and I congratulate them”.
Those opposed to equal marriage are giving closing speeches. The bill as been accused of having “contrived deadlines”, and being “built on pretence”.
Opponents are accepting that the bill will pass, however.
Supporters of equal marriage have gathered outside the House of Lords for today’s Third Reading. The bill is expected to pass imminently.
Lord Cormack asks “euphoric” supporters of equal marriage: “Please have a thought to the millions of people in this country for whom marriage will always be acquainted with the Christian definition of marriage”.
Lord Cormack has risen to say there are “many among society” who are “unhappy” about the equal marriage bill.
The amendments to ensure a pension survivor rights review has been added to the equal marriage bill.
Baroness Stowell is summing up for the equal marriage bill. She says she will “continue to wait for George Clooney,” before she will marry.
Baroness Stowell thanks Lady Barker and Lord Lester for their support throughout the bill’s progress, as well as Lord Pannick.
Also commending the opposition, she thanks Lord Dear for his commitment to his cause.
Labour benches “On this important, historic piece of legislation, that is what the Government, and the opposition front benches have done
She thanks Baroness Royall and Baroness Thornton, and goes on to thank Lord Alli for being an “active participant” during the bill’s debate.
She says: “I cannot claim to be a gay rights campaigner, but I do believe in justice and fairness.”
Baroness Stowell notes that she is: “More Conservative peers have voted for this bill than against it”. She speaks of how “proud” she is.
Baroness Stowell notes the work done by peers in the House of Lords to make the bill “better” than when it arrived there.
Baroness Stowell is rounding up all Government amendments, including religious protections, humanist weddings, civil partnerships and pensions.
Baroness Stowell is now summing up the group of amendments for pension survivor benefits.
Baroness Royall offers a short message of pride for the bill as a whole, and says she is glad to have attached her name to the group of pensions amendments.
Bishop Norwich says the bill “will serve both its supporters and those still unconvinced”. He supports the bill, as well as the pensions amendment.
Lord Higgins also commends the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill so far.
Lord Rowlands notes the decriminalisation of homosexuality, and says that opponents will accept equal marriage “with the passage of time”.
He said he “had had the experience of joy of a long and happy marriage – He says: “it’s about equality before the law.”
Lord Lester is noting the Equality Act, in praising peers in the House of Lords, and those responsible for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
Lord Alli is reading impassioned correspondence from a gay man, and is noting today as a momentous day for equal rights.
The amendments are supported by Lord Alli, Lord Lester of Herne Hill and Baroness Royall of Blaisdon.
The group of Government-tabled amendments would commit the Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions to a review of occupational pension schemes, to take into account survivor benefits to ensure the spouses of same-sex couples are entitled to receive their spouse’s pension in the event of their death.
Baroness Stowell is introducing the only group of amendments for today’s Third Reading, which would ensure a review of pension survivor benefits in occupational pension schemes for same-sex couples.
Welcome back! The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill Third Reading has just begun.
The House of Lords has now adjourned, and after a long two-days of Report stage debate, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is ready for its Third Reading on Monday.
Baroness Northover has introduced a typical tidying-up amendment, 23A ,which has been included in the bill.
The peers are now racing through other similar amendments.
The peers have just raced through some Government amendments.
Lord Singh has withdrawn his amendment to call for a referendum on equal marriage.
Lord Wallace says: “This bill is about putting right a wrong because we believe in the institution of marriage”, and calls for peers to reject the referendum amendment.
Lord Wallace commends David Cameron for speaking “with conviction” on equal marriage.
Lord Singh says he does not agree that the consultation on equal marriage was valid, because he thinks it was predetermined.
Lord Wallace disagrees, and says the Government engaged with the public, specifically noting the Sikh community.
Lord Wallace said the Government “does not believe that [a referendum] is a sensible course of action.”
Baroness Thornton has called the referendum amendment a “nonsense”.
Baroness Thornton is commending opposition to the equal marriage bill, for being so adamantly opposed to it.
She is opposed to the amendment, and is citing free votes in the House of Commons, at which equal marriage was passed.
Lord Norton of Louth is challenging claims that there is a “divide” on equal marriage, to say that generally speaking, neutrally worded questions show support in the mid 50s, and opposition in the mid 30s.
The Earl of Listowel is now speaking to say that it is important that there are “strong conservative voices” to stand up to “more modern” people, noting Lord Singh’s amendment.
Lord Martin says that the idea that the Parliamentary process is final in implementing a bill is not right, and says he supports the idea of a referendum.
Lord Martin of Springburn says it is “nice” that Lords Fowler and Waddington disagreed “so well” on the referendum amendment.
Lord Anderson seems to have suggested that the large majorities in favour of equal marriage in the House of Commons are irrelevant, in supporting Lord Singh’s referendum amendment.
Lord Anderson says the Government has “no mandate”, and criticises it for equal marriage not being in the manifesto.
He says there has been a “mass conversion” on the issue, in the same as an “African tribal leader who mas converts members of his tribe”.
Lord Pannick says: “Referendums should be confined to fundamental constitutional issues. This is not”.
Lord Alli said he does not want to help the Prime Minister get off his “hook”, but commends his bravery in bringing the bill forward.
He notes the free votes in which the equal marriage bill has passed through earlier stages with large majorities.
Lord Carlile joked that an agreement between UKIP and the Conservative Party might be regarded as a “same-sex marriage”.
He doubts Lord Singh’s adherence to the guidelines of speaking in the Lords, and saying that peers should reject the amendment.
Lord Waddington has blamed the introduction of equal marriage for UKIP gains in local elections.
Lord Waddington has said David Cameron has “impaled himself” on a hook by bringing the equal marriage bill forward, but that only a referendum would allow him to remove himself.
Lord Fowler is accusing Lord Singh of claiming that the Commons did not consider the arguments for a referendum, when really he is just opposed to the outcome of the debate.
Baroness Turner has said she gets the impression that “younger people are all in favour” of equal marriage, and that she thinks the majority of people are in favour.
She wrapped up: “We do not need a referendum/ It is really not a worthy amendment at all. Why on this bill? it is entirely discriminatory.”
Baroness Turner is speaking passionately about putting right the wrongs done to gay and lesbian people by moving towards equality. She said marriages between same sex couples are “lawful”, which she repeated twice.
Baroness Turner of Camden is speaking for the first time to say she is annoyed by Amendment 96, questioning why there is a sudden call for a referendum, despite there being no call for it before from Lord Singh.
Lord Singh of Wimbledon is tabling Amendment 96, which calls for a referendum on equal marriage in October.
The amendment would pause equal marriage even if it were to pass, until it was approved by a popular vote.
The Earl of Listowel has withdrawn Amendment 95a.
Baroness Stowell has said she will write a letter to the Earl of Listowel following the debate, but that the research his amendment calls for is too large for the bill.
Baroness Stowell says she thinks Amendment 95 is unnecessary, and has challenged the points made by the Earl of Listowel, because same-sex couples wishing to have children take the decision “perhaps more” seriously than straight couples, because it has to be a conscious decision.
“When gay couples decide to have a child, or children, the decision very obviously is a conscious one, it has to be. So therefore it’s very safe for us to assume that, having made that decision they will be very conscious about the needs of that child.”
Lord Pannick questions why Amendment 95a is suddenly an issue, as children already have same-sex parents in civil partnerships. He suggests that it is just an issue with opposition to equal marriage.
Baroness Thornton says there is absolutely no need for Amendment 95a to be attached to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
Baroness Brinton has said society is obsessed with the idea of “normal” families, but that children all know that their peers come from same-sex, or single parent families.
She says: “there is really strong evidence that children thrive in that sort of same-sex relationship.
Lord Alli has also cited “Research on children being raised by people who are gay. There is now a large body of evidence which shows that on average such children do better than children who are born in the normal way of current marriage.”
Lord Alli compared the Earl of Listowel to Tony Benn for his power of persuasion, and the nature of his speech, despite not agreeing with what he says.
Lord Alli says he strongly disagrees with Amendment 95a.
The Baroness, who came out during the earlier debate on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, says: “I want to agree with him only to the extent that it is important that in future that there be research into the affects of this bill, and into families which come into being when this bill is passed.
“I disagree with him because I detected in what he said, that he starts from a base position that somehow he believes this is going to be bad
“I believe that this is a very hopeful bill. A bill that will bring a great deal of stability to families who have not had stability until now. “
She said that when she was at school nobody talked about being gay, she said it was mentioned “at best as a joke”.
Baroness Barker has risen to strongly oppose amendment 95a, in the name of acceptance of same-sex couples.
Perhaps the Earl of Listowel has forgotten that the peers are debating equal marriage, and that gay couples getting married probably intend their relationships not to be “brief”.
The Earl of Listowel continues that: “We know that male same-sex relationships can be brief”, and that having two parents is preferable for the raising of children.
The Earl of Listowel is noting the citation of a study which found that children of same-sex parents “do better”, as cited by Baroness Stowell, and Lord Winston on Monday, saying it should be looked a “critically”.
The Earl of Listowel is tabling Amendment 95a, which calls for a review of the overall impact of the introduction on equal marriage on children.
He is concerned that the bill will “erode” the “traditional” idea that the “best situation for children is to have a father and a mother”.
Lord Bishop of Leicester has withdrawn Amendment 95, but has said he may seek to bring parts of it back at Third Reading.
Lord Bishop of Leicester has said the amendment does not allow schools to opt out of teaching about equal marriage, and claims that its opponents and proponents are actually on the “same side”.
Baroness Stowell has also promised that guidance will be reviewed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and sent to all schools, in order to support them after equal marriage becomes law.
Baroness Stowell says the Government does not accept the amendment, because it does not want to accept an amendment which could threaten the ultimate goal of the equal marriage bill.
Baroness Stowell notes that sometimes same-sex parents send their children to faith schools, and that it is wrong to assume all faith school parents are straight, and opposed to equal marriage.
“I don’t think that this amendment and what i will achieve is the way to give people comfort in order to adjust to the social change.
“Some parents who send their children to faith schools are gay, and I don’t think that we should assume that all parents who are sending their children to faith schools are straight couples.
“That’s the kind of sensitive issue we are dealing with.”
Baroness Stowell continues: “The Gov have considered it very carefully. We do believe that this provision is unnecessary, I need to try to reassure the house why we have come to that view.
“In schools of a religious character, teachers deal admirably” with teaching about marriages which do not line up with their faith. She notes marriages between divorcees.
Baroness Stowell rises to say she understands religious concerns over the teaching of equal marriage, but that the amendment is unnecessary.
“I would like to make clear that there is absolutely nothing in this bill that affects faith schools in future” to provide an education whilst sticking to religious beliefs.”
The Bishop of Exeter conceded that he is not a lawyer, but claimed that the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill would create a legal conflict.
Baroness Royall, the leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords, has said she understands concerns raised by the Church of England and Catholic Church.
She said they were concerned at the pace of change, and that they may not adjust to accept equal marriage, but said said: “they will, and they will be comfortable with it”.
Baroness Byford said she was concerned about children who may ask their parents about same-sex parents.
The Bishop of Winchester rose to support the amendment, saying that it does not include a “homophobic Trojan Horse”.
Baroness Byford has risen to support the bill, which she calls “extremely important”.
Excellent conclusion by Baroness Farrington: “All children in all our schools, ought to be able to love and respect all members of their communities and families. Those children know those people, perhaps we are a bit late recognising it.”
Baroness Farrington said a twelve-year-old asked her what she was doing in the Lords, and she told them equal marriage.
She said the child questioned why religious groups were opposed to equal marriage, and was confused as to why they would be.
Baroness Farrington said other peers had suggested that the equal marriage bill would create a new set of issues for schools to teach.
This legislation is already in place with civil partnerships, she says, but children or families with same-sex parents already exist, and schools will not be required to teach anything new.
Lord Elystan-Morgan rose with “trepidation” to say he was unsure on the amendment, but would reject it if it “imperilled” the bill.
He said: “Is there a point where a faith school, or a body operating any trust, is entitled, if it so wishes, to go contrary to a principle that have been clearly and specifically spelled out in Parliament. The answer must be in the negative. “
Lord Eden seems to suggest that children of same-sex parents will not have grandparents… “One aspect of marriage up until now, which will change when [equal marriage] becomes law, is that family life is a very significant factor in marriage, and in the bringing up of children.”
He continues: “Ideally the family includes a mother and father… and hopefully grandparents.”
“The aim of the family should be to provide a stable and nurturing environment” for the raising of children.
Baroness Brinton has risen to agree with Lord Alli. She says current guidelines are “sensitive” in the way they say schools must teach, but that Amendment 95 is not needed.
Lord Alli comments to say: “I am sorry that I cannot support the Reverend, for many of the reasons that Lord Pannick has outlined”.
“I am afraid that if we agree this amendment… It will provide a foothold for those opposed to this bill to open old debates and old wounds.”
He said Amendment 95 could be “quite destructive in the hands of those who do not want this bill to succeed”.
“My growing appreciation of the new direction of travel in the Church of England”, noting efforts to combat homophobic bullying by the Church.
Lord Cormack says: “Children should be taught the basic tenets of the faith. There need be nothing incompatible between these tow aims.”
“The acceptance of this amendment will show sensitivity, understanding on behalf of the Government.” He calls for a “spirit of mutual tolerance”.
Lord Cormack has also called the amendment “moderate”.
He says: “I do not believe the acceptance of this amendment can do any damage whatsoever” to the equal marriage bill.
Lord Pannick has called the bill “inappropriate”. He says he cannot understand the need for a specific provision to address the influence of equal marriage on sex education, when there is no provision to address other issues.
Baonress Cumberlege is talking on the value of faith schools, noting the Education Act which reads: “the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and the bringing up of children”.
She says a it will be “of concern”, because if equal marriage is passed, it will require schools to teach “more” than that of the law.
The Baroness claims that schools are concerned: “That they will be prevented of doing so by the redefinition of marriage” by the bill.
She called Amendment 95 a “modest amendment”.
The Lord Bishop is saying schools will teach about marriage according to religious teachings whether or not the amendment is added, but asks whether the peers would prefer it to be included in the bill.
Speaking on the Education Act 1996, the Lord Bishop of Leicester is saying without the amendment, there will be a conflict of interests between teaching facts about equal marriage, and the moral issues required by the teaching of SRE.
Amendment 95 has been nicknamed the “son of Section 28”.
It reads that the equal marriage bill will not “prevents teaching the tenets of the relevant religion or religious denomination concerning marriage and its importance for family life and the bringing up of children to registered pupils at schools which have a religious character.”
The Bishop of Leicester said without the amendment, religious schools will be “Left in a dilemma as to how marriage should be taught”.
Amendment 95 is currently being introduced by the Lord Bishop of Leicester. He says the amendment is not to allow schools to opt-out.
He said many people “still remain haunted by Section 28.” The Bishop says he does not want to “turn back the clock to those regrettable times.”
“The focus of the amendment is of schools of religious character”.
Here we go. The debate on the equal marriage bill is now resuming.
The Report stage for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Will resume shortly. Check back for updates.
Just under half an hour until the House of Lords debate on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, resumes. Stay tuned for more coverage here from 20:12 (approximately).
The debate at Report Stage for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has adjourned, to resume at 20:12. Check back on PinkNews.co.uk for more coverage!
Amendment 94, to extend civil partnerships to carers/cohabiting family members has been rejected by peers in the House of Lords with 267 votes to 89.
Amendment pushed to a vote. It appears a majority of Not-contents have it.
Baroness Deech: “I am getting letters from sisters. I don’t know what to write back to them if this house does not look at this amendment.”
Baroness Deech: “We are not talking about marriage, or civil partnership, or incest, we are talking about an inquiry now that same-sex marriage has opened this opportunity.”
She calls the amendment a “study of equality.”
Lord Wallace disputes Lord Dear’s assertion that there is at all a “clamouring” for this amendment. He says there are not exactly many people lobbying for it.
Lord Wallace says that what Baroness Deech was getting at was not really a civil partnership at all.
Lord Wallace: “It is undesirable for close family members, such as siblings, to marry.”
There are very strong arguments on both sides, says Lord Pannick.
However, where he was in favour of the amendment, he has now changed his mind. He is not persuaded this is an “appropriate vehicle” after all.
Baroness Barker says that the rights and responsibilities of people entering a relationship are wholly different from the rights and responsibilities of members of the same family.
“This sets up some potentially damaging and ugly relationships in families.” She says she does not think it should be a part of any review.
“Public opinion would consider this an important matter,” claims Lord Anderson.
Baroness Kennedy: “what would undermine the condition of same-sex marriages more than allowing fathers and daughters into a partnership contract?”
Lords keep trying to speak twice. Things are getting restless.
Baroness Kennedy says that this amendment is yet another wrecking amendment, designed to scuttle the bill.
That there is no “annulment” in civil partnerships means that there need not be a sexual dimension, Baroness Berridge argues.
“One might even see deeply religious people of the same sex, who currently oppose the bill, getting married!”
She notes that Lord Alli’s “feels wrong” comment is very subjective and postmodern. (Ignoring, of course, that feeling is a very modernist affect)
She says that if it is “so wrong,” the amendment would not have been allowed on the face of the bill.
Lord Dear says that the words “generosity and compassion” must be added to the words “equity” and “decency” that have already been used.
“There have been many attempts to couple this wagon to the appropriate stagecoach,” he argues, much to the provocation of the Lords.
Baroness Farrington says that the amendment is the “right wagon” attached to the “wrong train.”
She says she hopes they will find another vehicle to attach their wagon to, so that she may support it.
Baroness Farrington: “I would be delighted to be debating this issue, not in a review, but now.”
She says that she does not believe, however, that the marriage bill is the vehicle for doing that.
Bishop Chester says he has not heard the word “justice” being used an awful lot during discussions.
“Something ought to be there to provide support, and indeed blessing, for those who find themselves in co-habitations.”
He says he is delighted to support the amendment.
Lord Alli says, “at the risk of groans from the house,” that he has not noticed a single amendment down in any other bill pushing this issue.
“Why now?” he asks. “This is neither the time or place.”
Lord Alli says “I don’t view civil partnerships as a financial transaction between two people.” He says they are founded on a sexual relationships.
“I know your lordships don’t like talking about sex,” he remarks.
Lord Alli says he believes he will see a day where civil partnerships will be celebrated in churches.
“I think if we were today to broaden the scope of civil partnerships, we will endanger this.”
He says that all the benefits for unpaid carers already exists. The issue boils down to family exclusively, he insists.
In response to the question of the sexual nature of marriages – “we don’t ask that question.”
“I do understand, like marriage, civil partnerships – a majority of the time – start with a sexual component, and this must be broadly understood.”
Baroness Hooper talks emphatically about how her co-habited sister died last year, and that she gained no benefits from this tragic loss that others are privileged with.
Baroness Butler-Sloss says that “the door is actually open” for the civil partnership act to be reviewed.
“I find it very difficult to understand that it can’t be at least be looked at.”
The last time the issues of siblings and carers rights were raised was during the civil partnership bill.
Lord Lloyd says Baroness Deech is not asking for “a change in the law”.
“There is to be a review anyway,” he insists. “This seems to be the ideal occasion to consider the points to which everyone agrees.”
Lord Cormack: “If the government is to have this review of civil partnerships, it is surely right that these other relationships should be taken into account.”
“In the name of equity, in the name of decency – to exclude this would be entirely wrong.”
“Love and commitment come in many forms, not necessarily with sex,” says Baroness Deech. She says that worries about incest are “extraordinary”.
“It cannot be seriously suggested that two sisters taking care of each other are guilty of incest.”
“If recognising same-sex marriage has no impact on opposite-sex marriage,” she says, then the same can apply to sibling unions.
In France, she reminds the house, there exists “pacts” which exist that give similar benefits to marriage for co-dependent siblings and carers.
Baroness Deech says “this could be a gender issue”.
“The justification for the discrimination that exists for those living together in a co-dependent environment has gone,” she argues.
This is not merely about money, she says, it is about the advantages of living in a home, medical rights, and the care for children, and so on.
“I cannot imagine anyone hard-hearted enough to block this, although I gather the government is not sympathetic.”
Lord Wallace puts forward the Amendment 93 for England and Wales legislation concerning civil partnerships for siblings and carers.
Content or not content? The contents have it.
Baroness Stowell says in response to post-legislative scrutiny, that she would expect scrutiny of the bill’s impact to be considered – and that would be a matter of form, she reassures.
Concerning the fast-track procedure: “It reduces the amount of evidence that the trans person has to give to the gender recognition panel.”
The main thing, she concludes, is how grateful she is about the generous remarks that have been made.
“What we’ve done,” she notes, “is allowed trans people who have married to stay married.”
Baroness Barker says she is relieved that the discussions of pensions is over.
“I never thought we would come to anything more complex than when we came to this amendment.”
She says it is apt to say that one of the couples she knows will be directly affected by this. “They did not wish for that marriage to be broken up in these circumstances.”
Perhaps this amendment is something to be returned to in post-legislative procedures she suggests.
Baroness Gould: “It doesn’t really matter whether the spouse gives consent to the marriage, or to gender recognition.”
She acknowledges that the transgender community is angry, and will continue to be angry about the spousal veto.
Applicants who made their transitions long ago may find it difficult to obtain the required medical reports from gender dysphoria specialists, Baroness Stowell reminds the House.
Amendment put forward for transgender recognition bypassing veto legislation.
“There is a real fear from transgender people that spouses will be able to veto their gender recognition certificates.”
Lord Armstrong says he doesn’t think his amendment deserved Lord Lester’s harsh criticism.
He withdraws amendment 85.
Lord Wallace: “We cannot accept this amendment.” There is only one institution of marriage, he says.
Baroness Thornton calls Lord Armstrong’s amendment “ingenious” in its attempt to undermine equal marriage.
“We do feel that it is time to stop having this argument.”
Lord Lester notes that paragraph B separates the two types of marriage using about 100 words instead of a bracket.
“Its meaning and effect would puzzle Henry the VIII and his Lord Chancellor.”
(An amendment for two-tiered marriage was defeated by 195 votes on Monday)
Lord Armstrong: ‘This amendment is 100% bracket free.’
Lord Lester calls Lord Armstrong’s amendment the “most eccentric” he has seen.
Lord Armstrong says he anticipates that maybe “gay marriage” might one day become “as traditional” as opposite-sex marriage.
Lord Armstrong moves amendment 85 forward for enabling same-sex couples to “enjoy” the same laws as opposite-sex couples. The clause supports a “physiological and biological” recognition of “fundamental” difference.
(It is a wrecking amendment, in other words)
Amendment 84 withdrawn.
Lord Alli says that “there just is no public money.” He says he had the honour of being the publisher of Pensions Magazine: he has had a little time understanding the pensions market.
The 2 to 3 million pounds was about taking out gender discrimination. It has nothing to do with occupational pension schemes.
He says the cost is so minimal. “The actuary calculations,” he says, “will remain pretty static.”
Baroness Stowell has asked Lord Alli to withdraw his amendment to equalise pensions
Baroness Stowell: “This debate demonstrates the need for us to be better informed. There are issues that need proper consideration.”
She says she can see the sense in what Lord Alli is saying. “What I am going to do is discuss further with my ministerial colleagues.”
Lord Alli: “I really think the government cannot say there is a public cost – there is no public funding. It is so clear that the House should be put into a position of believing that public money is being spent.”
Pre-existing differences exist between men and women with pension provision has an impact on same-sex couples, says Baroness Stowell.
Baroness Stowell says that this amendment does not provide survivor provision between same-sex couples as well as opposite sex couples.
She claims it will have a domino effect on pensions schemes leading to the impact on the taxpayer.
“It would impact immediately on those pensions schemes that at the moment have no occupation for same-sex couples.”
“Avoiding imposing retrospective costs on pension schemes is the approach taken by Government for many years.”
Baroness calls on the Government to bring forward proposals to address any remaining pension inequalities.
Baroness Royall: “The 3 to 4 billion pound estimate is based on the assumption of equalisation leading back to 1978.” But the 1978 matter is based on the historic incident of women being subordinate to their husbands, she says.
Baroness Royall is supporting Lord Alli’s amendment.
Lord Deben: “Mammon must not be allowed to win.”
Mammon, in the New Testament of the Bible, is material wealth or greed, most often personified as a deity, and sometimes included in the seven princes of Hell.
Lord Deben: “We have had to say to groups and individuals who are unhappy with this legislation contain their unhappiness.”
“There might be something we haven’t thought through, but I do think we cannot say that for the time forward that one sort of marriage will work in one way and another will work in a different way.”
He says that every effort will be made to ensure this bill means what it says: equal marriage.
Lord Higgins: “I think it is wrong retrospectively to put a charge on the schemes of existing members.”
He says that overall they should leave it to the discretion of trustees.
“We don’t know the exact cost,” says Lord Higgins. “The reality is this will affect a number of pensions funds.”
Baroness Noakes disputes the evaluation of the financial impact of amendment 84, arguing her support for 84a.
Baroness Howe: “Isn’t this exactly the government’s commitment to securing real equality for gay people?”
Baroness Howe recounts the DOMA (Defense of Marriage) case concerning the discrimination of those in lawful same sex marriages.
She says: “I can confidently say that this change in the law will mean the world to those it affects.”
Lord Alli: “This is a tiny issue affecting a small amount a people at a terrible time of need.”
He says the government are making a mountain out of a molehill.
Lord Alli criticises the ideologue of “spurious costs” that he anticipates will be used to argue against the amendment.
Lord Alli is now introducing Amendment 84 for Pensions.
The House of Lords will debate again shortly
This is going to be where we write things
Baroness Butler-Sloss has withdrawn her amendment and the House of Lords has adjurned. It will resume the debate on Marriage (Same Sex Couples) on Wednesday. We will be posting more detailed articles about a number of the key issues that have been debated over the next few hours and Tuesday morning.
Baroness Stowell uses a fictitious marriage between her and George Clooney to illistrate adultery. She said that if George Clooney had an affair with Baroness Thornton (her opposite number) it would be adultery, however if he had sex with Lord Alli (who was the first openly gay member of the House of Lords), it would not be adultery but instead unreasonable behaviour. Both are grounds for a divorce.
Baroness Stowell says that adultery as defined in case law can be anatomically be performed by a man and a woman
Baroness Stowell of Beeston, in discussing Baroness Butler-Sloss’s amendment, has expressed her gratitude that the peers have come to talk about the topics of consummation, adultery, and the specifics therein post watershed, in “compliance with broadcast regulations”.
Baroness Stowell jokes that she is grateful that peers are debating adultery after the watershed, in fact 3 1/4 hours after it begins.
Lord Debin (John Gummer) says that Baroness Butler-Sloss has reminded him of his mother explaining “what happens down there” when he was younger
Lord Alli says there is a problem with defining adultery within a lesbian relationship
Baroness Butler-Sloss is proposing an amendment on adultery and defining sexual acts
Peers have voted 84 to 15 to reject Lord Elton’s amendment that would force all couples in civil partnerships who wish to enter into a marriage to perform a new ceremony and exchange vows
Baroness Northover asks Lord Elton to withdraw his amendment and promises that a consultation will take place on how civil partnerships convert to a marriage
Lord Ali says that Lord Elton’s amendment is a lovely idea but it is not right to burden same-sex couples in a civil partnership to hold a new ceremony to undertake new vows in a marriage
Conservative Lord Elton says if same-sex couples will have to participate in a new ceremony to convert from a civil partnerships into a marriage. The government proposal says that couples can convert without new marriage vows.
John Gummer (Lord Deben) says that it would be ridiculous to protect a cook says her petit fours can not be used for a same-sex couple
Baroness Stowell convinces Lord Anderson to withdraw one of his amendments. He is now continuing with another one.
Baroness Stowell says that Lord Anderson’s amendments are not needed as the Employment Rights Act and the Equality Act protect those who have religious objections to same-sex marriage
Labour peer Lord Anderson is now introducing Amendment 49, another attempt to protect employees from having to promote same-sex marriage
Peers voted 163 to 32 to reject Lord Dear’s amendment that would have ‘protected’ teachers from having to ‘promote’ same-sex marriage
Lord Dear’s amendment said that teachers can still express their personal views about marriage, and stops them being under any obligation to support same sex marriage
Peers are now voting on Lord Dear’s amendment relating to ‘protecting’ teachers from promoting homosexuality
Baroness Stowell, nothing in the view says that anyone must change their view that marriage is between a man and a woman
Baroness Barker says that Lord Dear’s amendment on the ‘promotion of same-sex relationships’ by teachers, raises echoes of times past- Section 28
Labour Lords leader Baroness Royall dismisses Lord Dear’s amendments and says that all teachers must ‘teach the law of the land’, i.e. that gay couples can marry (once the law changes)
Lord Dear is referring to a ComRes poll commissioned by the anti-gay Coalition for Marriage
Lord Dear is now proposing his latest amendments, this time about teachers
The vast majority of the ‘wasting time’ amendments by Lord Mackay have not been moved
Lib Dem whip, Baroness Northover is introducing government amendments that make minor changes to clarify how buildings and the Church of Wales register to hold same-sex marriages
The amendments 9 and 10 that have been passed tighten up the definition of the word ‘compelled’ in the Bill
Amendments 9 and 10 have been passed
Baroness Berridge is withdrawing her amendments that relate compulsion for conducting same-sex marriages
Lords are currently debating ‘compulsion’ in relation to the marriage of solemnising same-sex couples
A review of Humanist weddings has now been included into the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill
Conservative minister Baroness Stowell to Labour’s Baroness Thornton, “Right back at ya!” for praise for cross party collaboration on Humanist weddings consultation
Baroness Glenys Thornton, the Shadow Minister for Equalities has welcomed the Government’s amendment to conduct a review into Humanist weddings
Baroness Stowell: Commercial organisations will not be allowed to solemnise marriages if Humanists are allowed to solemnise marriages and if other groups are also allowed to do so
Baroness Stowell is proposing an amendment to provide for a review of Humanist weddings
The lords are soon to break from the same-sex couples bill for a dinner time debate.
More updates coming later.
Baroness Stowell of Beeston: “This bill doesn’t just allow same-sex couples to marry. It also protects religious freedom.”
She also says that they risk getting into dangerous protection getting into the territory about what beliefs are protected by state and law. “It would be an impossible task to list beliefs that are protected.”
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon says this is different from the registrar amendment because this is purely about freedom of belief and freedom of expression.
Lord Deben: “Nobody knows what people really mean by ‘traditional marriage.'” It is a blunderbuss, he says.
He says it is intolerable to legislate an act for anything which a bill does not make a reference to.
He adds, you cannot undermine the value of the bill by putting into it a phrase which disagrees with its very proposal.
Lord Cormack is now introducing his amendment to Lord Dear’s amendment.
Lord Dear: “This bill will pass.”
But he urges that it should come in through a climate of acceptance and tolerance of different views.
Lord Dear: “It takes away nothing for what this bill stands for to include this amendment.”
Amendment 4 put forward for the protection for the belief in “traditional marriage,” and the 3rd grouping of amendments.
Not Content wins the vote. Amendment 3 not passed.
Content or not content? A majority have spoken not content.
The Lords are now gathering to vote on amendment 3.
Lord Wallace of Tankerness: “In registration services we leave our beliefs at home.”
“At the end of the day, the principle should be when someone performs a function on behalf of the state, it should not discriminate.”
Lord Wallace of Tankerness: If a doctor was to say “I’m not going to perform the abortion on this person, based on race or belief, but I will perform this abortion on another” this makes the point more clear.
“It is a matter of discrimination,” he stresses.
Baroness Thornton reminds the House that registrars are not actually asking for a conscience clause.
Baroness Thornton says this is not about “tolerance and generosity”. She says that those who have supported this bill have already shown enormous generosity to views that are not only offensive, but hurtful, to gay people.
Lord Touhig: “Tolerate everyone. Tolerate everything. But do not tolerate the intolerant.”
Baroness Barker: “Registrars don’t just officiate at weddings. They register births and deaths.”
What this means is that some registrars would be impelled to do what they “cannot” do to a proficient degree.
Baroness Noakes says it is not tasteful to compare what happened in the abortion act to what the bill is proposing today.
“This is another attempt to undermine the status of the marriages of same-sex couples.”
Lord Walton says it could be seen, by some, that doctors who refused abortions “were not doing their jobs.”
But he said, it was proper for doctors to refuse to do abortions on religious grounds.
“This is a very simply amendment. It is an amendment to protect those still in service. Once they have retired, it will no longer be an issue.”
Baroness Howarth of Breckland makes the argument that “what if the registrar found out that one of the people they were marrying was a pedophile? Have they not the right to opt out on that basis?”
Lord Peston says that this is nothing to do with tolerance. He says it is not like the Stalinist endeavour to change one’s mind on same sex marriage. “All we are asking them to do is the job we are paying them to do.”
Lord Vinson: “I wouldn’t want to be married by a registrar who did so through gritted teeth.”
Lord Mawhinney says that the respect for opposition to equal marriage should be demonstrated by the acceptance of the amendment.
Baroness Berridge calls the amendment a sensible and reasonable compromise for what is not a perfect solution on either side.
Baroness Berridge: “A number of individual registrars who are in post did indeed contact their MPs stating they would resign their post if these laws were to come into effect.”
She says that there is a difference between choice and conscience. Conscience means that they “cannot” even make a choice in the first place.
Against Lord Pannick’s “absolutist” comparison between a judge’s duties and a registrar’s duties, Lord Anderson says that Doctors and teachers are both “public officials” in the broadest definition.
Lord Anderson: “We’re talking about tolerance. We’re talking about generosity.” What is certain, he says, is that the registrar losing his job is as much a victim of the same-sex couple who are not registered.
Bishop Chester says that the idea that anyone who is opposed to same-sex marriage is de facto homophobic destroys any opportunity for a reasonable debate.
Lord Higgins, referring to same-sex marriage: “No one was envisaging this. Indeed, a lot of people said it was not going to happen.”
Baroness Knight: “All Catholic adoption agencies have had to close because they are not happy about having to put a child in a home with a same-sex couple.”
She says that more and more the permission of one person’s human rights to another’s human rights. She compares the conscientious objection of registrars to the conscientious objectors of world war I.
Lord Cormack says there is a difference between racism and the “deeply held belief” of religious intolerance.
Lord Alli: “This is not a religious ceremony. It is a civil ceremony.”
“You have to divide church and state.”
Lord Alli reminds the House of Lords that we all pay for the services provided by registrars. We should all be afforded the same rights to them.
Lord Deben: “I think toleration is about being prepared to tolerate things with which we do not agree.”
He says that the judge’s job is to continuously interpret the law. It is perfectly proper to insist that they should use their technical ability to oppose things they do not agree.
Registrars never thought that this change would take place, he insists.
Lord Pannick: “I cannot accept that a public official is entitled to protection from his basic duty to perform a public obligation.”
A judge or a magistrate cannot refuse to appoint a law to which he disagrees with, he reminds the Lords.
The difference between this and abortion is that the registrar is performing the function of the state. The function of the state is to marry people.
“No one is asking them is to approve of same-sex marriage. All we are asking them to do is undertake the contractual function they have agreed to perform.”
Baroness Butler-Sloss: “Marriage registrars carry out a particularly attractive job.” She says that she hopes that the marriage of same-sex couples will be given the same amount of enthusiasm by registrars that she has already witnessed.
She says, however, that for many registrars who started years ago, the concept of same-sex marriage was but a blink on the horizon.
“This is a small and special group,” she says, claiming that these registrars are minorities.
Baroness Cumberlege says that being a registrar is a very crucial step towards public relations with all members of the community – including minorities.
“There are some religions, which for deeply held principles, cannot accept a single sex marriage, including the Muslim faith and orthodox christianity.” She argues that these people should not be forced out of the service of being a registrar, especially those who have worked in an upright manner.
“Frankly I don’t understand why this fairly limited change could not be made easily.”
She reminds the House of Lords: Registrars will be able to only object to same-sex marriages, not interracial marriages.
“Our amendment will not allow registrars to object to more than a conducted marriage.”
She allegorises a doctor’s right not to give contraceptive advice, and the right of a Sikh not to wear a motorcycle helmet.
Baroness Cumberlege: “Nothing in this amendment will prevent couples of the same sex from marrying.”
Amendment 3 put forward for the protection of registrars in their opting out of same-sex marriage.
Final vote: The Not-contents have it. Amendment not moved.
The Lords are gathering in order to vote on the amendment’s passing.
Content or not content? The Not-contents have it.
Lord Mackay says that important distinctions should be recognised, “brackets or otherwise.”
Lord Mackay says that the amendment is founded on absolute fact between the difference of same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples.
Baroness Stowell says that gay people do not want to change the institution of marriage in any way.
“We don’t want to open another door which says ‘same-sex couples’. There will be only one door.”
Baroness Stowell says that the reasons gay and lesbians want to settle down are for exactly the same reasons that opposite-sex couples choose to marry.
In response to the discussion of children, she says that the children of same-sex couples will be able to enjoy the same status as any other children. “This is a fantastic thing!”
Baroness Stowell: “We want gay and lesbian couples to be a part of the marriage institution in the same way.” She says that what the amendments do is undermine the fundamental purpose of this bill.
Baroness Thornton: “This is probably going to be known as the brackets amendment.”
Baroness Howarth of Breckland says that the only thing gay and lesbian people want is to be treated as ordinary.
“It means sharing with your fellows on an equal basis. Gay and lesbian people do not want brackets.”
She begs for common decency.
Lord West of Spithead: “I really do think this is a wrecking amendment, I am afraid.”
“Every single marriage is different. Will it demean my marriage? Not at all.”
Lord Davies of Coity says that this amendment protects children. He says the Bill gives gay people what they want: “They can have it!”
Professor Robert Winston from Children of Our Time says that children with same-sex parents are better off.
Lord Elystan-Morgan: “I have argued a great deal with myself over the past few weeks as to where I stood on this matter. Does it in any any way change or demean my own marriage?”
He says that gay people have been treated disgracefully by religions, and everything religion is supposed to have stood for has been undermined in that respect.
Lord Fowler cites the stonewall survey: “two and a half million people of working age have witnessed verbal homophobic bullying at work.”
He says that the Bill should not be to underline differences.
Lord Fowler: “Of course it is true that homosexuality is no longer a criminal offense, but let no one mistake that homophobia is in any way gone from the United Kingdom.”
He says we have a “mountain of prejudice” to overcome.
Lord Deben says he has a huge problem with the creation of babies in a world in which the number of unadopted children is a huge problem.
He insists: “It isn’t about children.”
Lord Deben: “This country has had a terrible history in the way it has treated gay and lesbian people.”
Lord Deben mocks the amendment’s proposal by giving an example of approaching the registry office: “Am I going for marriage lite, or am I going for this marriage or that marriage?”
“I just beg the house to realise that if we accept the proposal, then we are actually undermining the whole purpose of this bill. In that sense, it is a wrecking amendment.”
Lord Deben cites Jonathan Swift’s “modest proposal” with regards to the amendment.
Lord Alli says that same-sex couples do not want their unions to be bracketed.
“Why do you want to pick out gay couples in such a public and conspicuous way?” he interrogates.
He says that the proposed amendment is just a further measure, in a long line of efforts, to preserve inequality. “I hope this amendment will be defeated. Two classes of marriage, no matter how well disguised, is the very opposite of this bill’s intentions.”
Unwittingly echoing Jonathan Swift, Lord Cormack calls the amendment a “modest proposal.”
Lord Cormack says that the sole purpose of the amendment is to promote equality while acknowledging that there is a difference.
“We have conceded on the word marriage – that will go into the dictionary, with its new definitions.”
Lord Cormack: “All that this amendment does is repeat certain words in the bill.” That is, he claims, that there is a difference between a same-sex union and an opposite-sex union.
Lord Mackay insists that his amendment will not detract from Lord Pannick’s definition of the bill.
Lord Pannick: “Since the very purpose of this bill is to recognise same-sex marriages in the same way as the voluntary union between a man and a woman, it would be churlish to take away this aspect through an amendment.”
He says that the whole point of this bill is to “implement the principle that a same-sex marriage is a marriage with the same status and the same consequences as any other.”
Lord Waddington: “Many of us are surprised that the government has turned down every opportunity to retain the traditional view of marriage.”
He says that until recently it was “universally accepted” that marriage could only be between a man and a woman.
Bishop Chester refers to “biological differences between men and women” in order to defend his Catholic opposition to same-sex marriage.
Baroness Butler-Sloss asks “how on earth can anyone suggest anywhere” that there is one type of couple which is superior to another.
She says that the amendment is a very “cleverly worded” amendment.
“There is some misunderstanding about the impact of same-sex marriage on child development,” prattles Earl Listowel.
He says there is yet to be data on such impacts.
Lord Lester says the Bill should protect both the equality of same-sex couples as well as the traditional views of church institutions.
He says it is “essential” to ensure that the marriage of same-sex couples is not to be seen as inferior to opposite-sex couples, which is why he opposes the amendment.
Lord Lester of Herne Hill says that marriage is “intrinsically linked to reproduction and biological procreation.”
Lord Anderson of Swansea says he wishes he had thought of the amendment himself.
He claims that “traditional marriage” has existed since time immemorial. “For some…marriage is a sacrament which has existed for many years,” and it is not simply a “set of vows” committed between two people.
“Same sex marriages cannot be the same as traditional marriages,” he stresses.
Lord Mackay includes himself as part of a group called “ordinary people” who are opposed to the bill.
Lord Mackay says that “traditional marriage” is a valuable asset to the bringing up of children.
Lord Mackay of Clashfern: “There is a fundamental difference” between the two marriages, especially for children who are born to same-sex couples.
The House of Lords Debate has begun.
Amendment 1 put forward for marriage terminology – whether there should be a distinction between ‘same-sex couples’ and ‘opposite sex couples’
The House of Lords debate on same-sex marriage is set to begin at 15:00.
Baroness Farrington says she sees no evidence of the Bill’s intention to subvert the views and beliefs of teachers.
Baroness Farrington reminds the Lords that not all parents who send their children to Church schools do not necessarily do so on the condition of their faith, but also on the simple issue of vocation.
Lord Eden says it is “unfortunate” that sex education is even taught in schools.
“I am sure that I’m not alone in the volume of letters I have received regarding this bill,” says Baroness Knight. “Quite a lot have come from very worried teachers about the debate.”
She urges that it is important that teachers know very well what they are or are not being forced to teach.
Baroness Richardson brings up the point that parents should be alerted as to what Church schools are teaching is “right or wrong” given that the amendments are made.
The Lords are debating the clarity of “the tenets of the religion” based on the various differing denominations of religion.
The amendments will not affect any schools’ obligations to teach the legal mandate of same sex marriage, says Baroness Cumberlege, but they will not be under any duty to advocate same sex marriage.
Bishop Ripon and Leeds: “Church schools must be in a position to teach about marriage in a way which is in accordance to the ethos of the Church” – that marriage is between a man and a woman.
He says that it does not count as an exemption nor does it allow church schools to operate “outside” of the law.
Bishop Ripon and Leeds outlines Amendment 46B for education in church schools.
Amendment 46A withdrawn.
Baroness Deech, addressing the issue of domestic abuse, says that “abuse happens in families anyway.”
Baroness Deech: “We are not talking about sisters involved in incest.” She urges that the whole law has changed, so it must be opened to others.
“What if situations change?” asks Lord Wallace. “Two sisters enter into a civil partnership and then later one wants to marry.”
He suggests there needs to be an exit strategy as well as an entry point.
Lord Wallace says the amendment is “tantamount to tax arrangement.”
Baroness Thornton: “I just wonder why this issue has not been raised in the passage of many bills prior.”
“There have been many times” when the amendment could have been raised, she says.
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton says she cannot comprehend how “incest” can be validated.
Lord Mackay: “This bill is not about gay marriage. It is about same-sex marriage. It includes people in platonic same-sex relationships.”
Lord Elystan-Morgan: “It may be that this does not fall under the act. It may be that the civil partnership deals with a sexual relationship.”
He suggests that they are aiming at the wrong act.
Lord Marks: The suggestion has the tendency to undermine what civil partnerships are.
He suggests the amendment should be rejected. Resolving this separate injustice will undermine the intent of the Bill.
Baroness Knight: “I, too, strongly support what the noble Baroness, Lady Deech, has said, and I supported the noble Baroness, Lady O’Cathain, in her earlier efforts. It is extremely disappointing to be told, “Not now, another time” or, “Not tomorrow” or, “In a little while”. How do we know that it is going to be a little while? We have no idea. Reviews do not normally take a little while and even then they may not be successful.
I do not doubt the sincerity of the noble Lord, Lord Alli, and his genuine support for the idea behind this, but we are told every time, “Yes, we agree with what you say but this is not the vehicle in which to do it”. What we need to be told is, if this is not, what is? We need some idea of that because the injustices mount as the years go by. Many people, who would have been helped if the original amendment had gone through, are now gone. They are dead, finished; they faced burdens which they need not have faced. I, for one, am not prepared to sit here year after year and hear, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow”. Tomorrow never comes.”
Lord Alli: “I believe that before we see same sex marriages in our Churches, we will see the opening up of civil partnerships.” He says that while he says he supports the civil partnerships for heterosexual couples, as it stands, same sex civil partnerships currently have a unique role to play.
Lord Anderson of Swansea says it is not equal if heterosexual couples do not have a choice, like same sex partners, for a civil partnership.
Lord Alli: “I believe that carers are an undervalued sector of society”, but he adds that there is a significant difference between civil partnerships as we know it and the amendment proposed.
Baroness Butler-Sloss says that the effect of the government would be to defer the amendment, not to remove it.
Baroness Deech says the state should not prefer sexual relationships which may be short-lived over blood relationships.
Amendment 46A addressed to the House of Lords for the civil partnerships and rights of families in the same house.
Amendment 46ZA withdrawn.
The quicker the spouse knows about their partner’s transition the better, Baroness Butler-Sloss says.
Baroness Stowell says that it is about the decision of two people and the future of their marriage.
Baroness Stowell reminds that they have already made an amendment to the bill to protect the pension rights of Trans partners.
Addressing whether a spouse is ‘notified’ under current application, she says it is currently not so. The process requires the marriage to be annulled before a gender recognition certificate can be confirmed.
Baroness Stowell of Beeston says it is in incredibly sensitive issue.
“Our concern in this bill is to ensure that as many couples stay married as long as possible” she says. “It is not a block or a veto. Nobody is able to stop anybody getting their gender recognition certificate.”
She adds that the cisgender spouse also has a right to have a say in the future of their marriage following their trans spouse’s gender recognition,
Baroness Thornton says it affects a minority of people, but it is a very, very painful effect.
Baroness Butler-Sloss agrees that the House should recognise those who are left behind.
“There should be a notification of the gender recognition to the spouse.”
Even a divorcing spouse is capable of vetoing a person’s gender reassignment, Baroness Gould reminds us. “It is utterly wrong, in principle, to hang someone’s gender recognition on someone who may be hostile to that person.”
Baroness Gould of Potternewton emphasises that the amendment is crucial as a moral issue.
“No other law requires spousal consent to a change in a marriage,” she says. “It is a new concept in law.”
Amendment 46ZA put forward by Baroness Barker for gender reassignment recognition.
The amendment aims to defend those are Trans from spousal veto against gender reassignment.
Lord Alli: Putting people through the court system to try to equalise them in their grief does not seem particularly humane.
“I am only asking the government to show some compassion for what is a tiny amount of money.”
Amendment is withdrawn.
Baroness Stowell of Beeston admits that it is difficult to estimate the costs, but she says there are a range of different measures under equal marriage (including opposite sex couples getting civil partnerships) which could lead to an estimate of £4 billion.
Baroness Stowell of Beeston: In making it possible for same sex couples to marry, we have sought to build on existing legislation and not restructure the existing marriage law.
“Governments do not make changes to pensions schemes retrospectively.”
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon says that the Bill takes discrimination forward when it forecloses the extension of equal pensions rights.
The amendment is not a retrospective measure, but follows the entire ethos of the Bill’s legislation.
Baroness Lister of Burtersett: it is unclear as to potential pension costs of “£3 billion to £4 billion” comes from.
Baroness Howe of Idlicote: That this inequality remains on the statute book will surprise and sadden those who believe the equal marriage bill will give equal rights and benefits to same-sex partners.
“Government should not only refrain from discrimination, it should refuse the discrimination of the private sector.”
Lord Alli: Pensions actuaries deal constantly in uncertainties around their lives.
He says he does not understand why we cannot treat same sex couples the same as heterosexual couples. “They have all paid the same pension contributions.”
“It is not a huge issue. It does not set the world alight. […] But it is a kindness.”
THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF MONDAY’S COVERAGE
Lord Alli raises Amendment 45 to House of Lords regarding marriage pensions to the House of Lords.
The House of Lords is now taking a break until later this evening, as is the PinkNews Live Blog. There will be updates on PinkNews later on the progress of the bill!
Amendment 19A, which would have allowed Humanist weddings has been withdrawn, with Lord Harrison saying he will revisit the idea at Report stage.
Baroness Stowell of Beeston is wrapping up her comments on the Humanist amendment to the bill, after being questioned on several peers, on the reason for the opposition to the change, but has said the Government will reconsider the amendment.
Baroness Thornton is arguing that the Humanist amendment to the bill is “within the scope” of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, if it is approved in the House of Lords.
Lord Eden: “This Bill must not be thrown off its path by attempts to make wider changes to marriage in the UK.”
Bishop Guildford is arguing against the Humanist amendment, saying it should not be “slip streamed” onto the equal marriage bill.
Lord Singh refuted the idea that churches or religions need to “market themselves”, calling it “absurd”.
Baroness Massey is speaking in favour of the Humanist amendment.
Lord Harrison reminds how most religions, no matter how diverse and idiosyncratic, are accounted for under law. He adds, “at least a quarter of us have no religion. What of us?”
Lord Harrison is introducing an amendment to allow Humanist weddings to take place, saying it is a “matter of the heart”, which causes “heartache to none”.
Amendment 13 withdrawn.
Baroness Barker calls for “clarity”, and says: “I utterly support the rights of religious organisations to take a very different view to myself.”
“I hope that churches which do take those decisions [against opting-in to equal marriage] make it known publicly and loudly. I have spent my life trying not to offend religious organisations. It was never my intention as a gay person, to cause offence”.
“I would like churches to make it abundantly clear to me, as a gay person, to make it clear [what their position is].”
Lord Pannick: “Whether or not to give a blessing is not a public function. It is a religious function.”
Lord Deben said that the church’s refusal to give blessing should in no way give recourse to the law. He compared it to the refusal of a minister to give a blessing to a polygamous couple.
Baroness O’Loan withdraws amendment 13.
Baroness O’Loan: “The Bill assumes that the act of marrying is separate from the act of registering a marriage.” She clarifies that these are the same thing.
She added that the distinction between England and Wales churches is pivotal on the positions of either regarding opting in or out of registering same-sex marriage.
Lord Wallace said the thought “it would be unthinkable” for a court to go against the “architecture” of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, and take on a case against a religious organisation or individual who objected to performing a same-sex marriage.
Baroness Knight asked “how is it that registrars who will not perform these marriages because of [objections] in their hearts and in their conscience have been sacked.”
Lord Wallace denied that was the case, reminding Baroness Knight that the legislation has not yet been made law, so that could not have happened.
Baroness Royall said that the amendments are unnecessary and will add confusion. The Bill will not treat any religious group less favourably regarding its beliefs on same sex marriage, she added. “The equality act is a very carefully crafted piece of legislation.”
To single out the belief that marriage should be heterosexual undermines the beliefs of religions as a whole.
Baroness Royall has thanked the house for a “courteous” debate. She defended the bill, saying the bill needs no amendment for “protection against compulsion”.
She continued to say: “There is already clarity on the face of the bill,” but that she respects the concerns of those supporting Amendment 13.
Lord Cormack: “There is concern that this Bill will not give the strongest possible protection to those who believe that same sex marriage is fundamentally different to marriage between a man and a woman.”
Lord Cormack says he “regrets” that he has arrived at the conclusion that the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill will become law.
Lord Pannick asked for the House to be reasonable in its consideration of concerns raised by Amendment 13.
Lord Pannick said: “The whole point of this legislation is that a person should not be compelled to [perform a same-sex wedding]”, if they do not wish to do so.
“Marrying a person may well be a public function as clause 2-6 recognises, but a decision of whether you opt-in or not is not in itself a public function.”
He referred to the “statutory immunity” offered by the quadruple lock, contained within the legislation.
Lord Deben:”Toleration is accepting the views of those you disagree with fundamentally and totally.” Deben turns the House’s attention to the word “courtesy,” urging a more courteous dispute.
Lord Alli said, in response to Baroness Berridge’s Amendment 13, which would mean any person of faith could opt out of providing public services of marriage, that there are “no cast iron guarantees in law”, that can be offered to the Baroness.
Amendment 19, to allow Humanists to perform marriages in England and Wales, may be debated today.
A previous amendment concerning humanist marriage ceremonies was withdrawn during the third and final reading of the bill in the House of Commons, after the attorney general warned that it would fall foul of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Baroness Berridge is clarifying, as she was asked to, that she thinks religious groups within minority communities, and registrars are taking a “risk”.
“The government needs to give reassurance to these groups”, continuing to claim that the quadruple lock could become “ineffective”.
Arguing against the bill, Baroness Knight said: “We must look at a road full of broken promises” in the past. (She previously asserted that doctors and nurses in 1967 were promised the option to opt-out of performing abortions, but that the promise was broken).
The Conservative peer voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in last Tuesday’s House of Lords vote. She hit the headlines when she said a higher authority” than any peer, had “already decided that people are not equal”, because “some people can see, others are blind”.
She dismissed suggestions of homophobia on BBC Radio 5 Live by saying: “We’ve all got friends who are homosexuals. They are often extremely, very, very good at artistic things, very good at things like antiques, knowledgeable. No reason at all to say that they’re not loving.”
There will be no votes today on any of the amendments tabled. It is unlikely that peers will get around to debating the pensions amendment today.
Lord Singh said that those who believe Equality Act will use it to convert those who believe in traditional marriage to their way of thinking
Baroness O’Loan is discussing the Equality Act (Clause 2, Amendment 13)
The House of Lords is beginning its committee debate on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
The equal marriage bill is next up in the House of Lords. Get ready!
The House of Lords is in session and the peers have several items on the agenda, but the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is due to come up soon.
THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF WEDNESDAY’S COVERAGE
The House of Lords is to resume its committee stage debate on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill soon. Watch this space.
Decisions on amendments regarding religious protections will be made soon, followed by discussion of the Marriage Act 1949. The live blog is taking a break but there will be updates on PinkNews later!
In response to Lord Dear’s amendments she points out that two tiers of marriage would effectively be created, undermining the point of the bill.
In response to Lord Mackay’s amendment, Baroness Stowell says that belief in marriage as between a man and a woman will continue to be “mainstream”. Public appointees will be able to continue to express their views as long as it doesn’t affect their job.
The 98.5% of the country who aren’t gay must be free from the fear of being dismissed because of their opposition to the 1.5% who are getting married, says one Lord – name to be clarified.
Baronesses Thornton and Stowell are now wrapping up the group of amendments concerning religious protections.
Baroness Barker: The right of religious groups to express their opposition to homosexuality is protected.
However, as a tax-paying citizen, she argues she should not be treated differently by public servants. On those grounds, she opposes Lord Dear’s amendment.
Baroness Barker, who came out as gay in the last reading, says some of the most homophobic material sent to her is said in the name of churches.
Lord Singh said his amendment protecting belief in traditional marriage is completely necessary, while Lord Lester says it is completely unnecessary.
Lord Lester says the bill is designed to get rid of unfair treatment, not create more. He adds that if “idiots in the public sector” interpret the law wrongly, that is another issue.
Name calling and abuse directed at people who support the 1949 Marriage Act is astonishing, says Lord Singh. He worries that this will lead to violence if same-sex marriage proponents choose to defend “the moral high ground”.
31 out of 35 US States to vote on equal marriage voted against, says Lord Singh.
Lord Singh: “People will be coerced” into saying they support same-sex marriage as “there is a lack of respect and tolerance for diverse views on this matter”.
Lord Singh is arguing to change the Equality Act to include believing that marriage is between a man and a woman as a protected characteristic.
Lord Anderson, an equal marriage opponent, passionately said: “We are not bigots, we are people who happen to hold a traditional view of marriage”.
He also claims gay and bisexual people are overpowering religious believers through “tyranny of a minority”.
Lord Dear defended his amendments proposing to give protections to critics of same-sex marriage “from doctors to roadsweepers”.
Baroness Thornton responded that Lord Dear ought to read the Equality Act, which offers the protection he seeks already.
Lord Dear scathingly replied that the Equality Act is “not as watertight” as it was intended.
Baroness Berridge: Amendments are needed to make it clearer that criticism of equal marriage is not hate speech, even when “passions get inflamed”. She welcomes the Government’s amendment to the Public Order Act to this effect.
Lord Alli: The amendments adding protections for equal marriage critics “will alarm the public and insert inflammatory language… I call it the Section 28 effect”.
The group of amendments being discussed now aim to give protections to critics of equal marriage. Lord Alli says in opposition to the amendments that it is already unlawful to discriminate against people because of their beliefs.
Lord Cormack’s amendment giving extra (quintuple lock?) protection to Roman Catholic priests has been withdrawn.
While our site was briefly down here’s what happened:
Lord Dear’s amendment defining opposite-sex marriage as “traditional marriage” and registered separately creates an “unwelcome distinction”, said Baroness Stowell. Opposite-sex marriages don’t need protecting, she added.
Lord Dear countered that his amendment only creates the “possibility” if the couple chooses to distinguish their marriage as “traditional”.
Baroness Stowell said it still creates “distinction” and says the government does not want to keep couples apart.
She asked that the amendments suggesting different tiers of marriage be withdrawn as “seperate but equal can be a cloak of inequality”.
Lord Hylton withdrew his amendment.
Lord Mackay’s amendment was not moved.
Baroness Stowell: “There is only one institution of marriage. There is no middle way.”
Baroness Stowell: Gay men and women don’t want to change marriage, they just want to be part of something they feel is important. At the moment couples in civil partnerships can only say they are “sort of” married.
Baroness Stowell: This bill is about safeguarding the future of marriage by reflecting what younger generations value.
Baroness Thornton suggests that the movers of amendments discussed so far are “jealously guarding” marriage for heterosexual couples, and are thereby implying that same-sex unions are inferior. “Whether the movers intend it or not they are creating two classes of marriage”, she says.
Lord Alli points out that “traditional marriages” in the past included Emperor Nero tying the knot with another man, and asks if Lord Dear had that in mind.
Lord Alli points out that Lord Carey, a longstanding opponent of same-sex marriage, described amendments to change the name of same-sex marriages to “unions” as “mischievous and dangerous”.
Lord Alli states that Lord Mackay bringing up child abuse in a same-sex marriage debate was “offensive”.
Lord Mackay responds he never linked the two, to which Lord Alli replies he shouldn’t have brought it up at all.
The “unintended consequences” of same-sex marriage being legalised in Argentina were huge, says Lord Dear. He quotes an Argentinian paper which claims homonormativity won over heteronomativity throughout society because of the redefinition of marriage.
He says the “freedom and liberty” of couples to enter traditional marriages must be respected. If the bill passes they will have to use the Church of England, or they will be “forced” to use the “gender neutral definition of marriage”.
Lord Dear says the bill would be a “fusion of two completely different strands into one nomenclature”.
Peers now seem to be leaning towards Lord Mackay’s amendment, which proposes to distinguish a same-sex union as a “same-sex marriage” rather than just a marriage.
Baroness Butler-Sloss says having a different name for same-sex marriage is a matter of “truth” – nevermind if people don’t want to declare their sexuality through the name of their partnership.
Baroness Butler-Sloss says that in her work as a judge she considered same-sex couples equally suitable for taking care of children. However, she says supporters of the bill are “hooked” on the word marriage, when distinguishing between different types of union would be better.
The Archbishop of York says “sorry” to LGBT people historically abused by the Church. However, he says that same-sex unions should have a new name, as it is a “novelty”.
Lord Mackay of Clashfern says he’s distressed about child abuse, and adds it has nothing to do with the bill but it shows children’s rights need to be considered carefully.
Lord Singh says Punjabi Sikhs have different words for uncles and aunts depending on which side of the family they come from. he argues that this gives “precision”, but doesn’t make them “less equal” – and claims the same is true for having different words for same-sex and opposite-sex unions.
How to reconcile the need for equality and the recognition of differences? “Two forms of marriage” is the answer, says Lord Higgins, in support of the amendment.
“What would Humpty Dumpty call a second marriage?” asks Baroness Shackleton. If remarrying for divorced heterosexuals is legal, why not give same-sex couples a first attempt?
Someone is sneezing over Baroness Turner, who says Lord Hylton’s amendment is “not an amendment at all” because it has nothing to do with same-sex marriage. “Marriage is what we’re talking about.”
Lord Mawhinney says he knows about the upcoming Government amendment protecting critics of equal marriage, but he doesn’t believe it will provide enough refuge for free speech.
Lord Mawhinney agrees with Lord Dobbs’ concerns about political correctness, but for different reasons. He argues that religious and racial anti-discrimination laws have lead to wrongful accusations, and he is concerned the same will happen to “the ordinary men and women of this country” who aren’t politically correct about same-sex marriage.
Lord Mawhinney voted against the bill at second reading, and has attached his name to an amendment suggesting “traditional marriage” and “same sex marriage” be used as separate terms. “In biological reality… there are differences” between same-sex and opposite-sex couples, he says now.
Strong argument from, Lord Dobbs, who says “Of course marriage was traditionally between a man and a woman” since same-sex couples faced punishment, ostracisation and violence if they went public with their relationship in the past.
“Anything but marriage will not do” says Baroness Richardson.
The amendment is a “wolf” which goes against the courage of people who came out because of the same-sex marriage debate, says Lord Black of Brentwood.
Lord Lester: Civil “unions” wouldn’t add anything to the civil “partnerships” same-sex couples can already have.
It’s been pointed out that calling same-sex unions anything other than “marriage” is making them “lesser”, not just “different, as “Marriage is the crowning of our relationships”.
Another point from Lord Elystan-Morgan on why change in marriage can be a good thing: Until 1991 a husband could rape his wife and not face prosecution!
Correction: Lord Brown, not Lord Browne!
Lord Elystan-Morgan points out that, until the 1800s, only the Church of England could perform marriages – which his Welsh ancestors strongly opposed.
The Lord Hylton amendment undermines the core purpose of the bill, which is to create marriage equality, argues Lord Browne.
Baroness Williams maintains that “equality is not the same as sameness”, and supports the amendment to use “union” instead of “marriage” for same-sex couples.
Churches should ask for forgiveness for historical abuse of gay people, says Baroness Williams.
Baroness Williams argues that, as well as biological differences, men and women approach relationships differently – making opposite-sex couples the most “stable” parents.
Lord Waddington rebukes lord Alli and says new marriages have declined in Spain, meaning straight people are put off by same-sex marriage!
Lord Alli is pointing out that the decline of marriage in Spain was caused by relaxed divorce laws, rather than the introduction of same-sex marriage.
Lord Armstrong of Ilminster seems to be comparing David Cameron to Humpty Dumpty, as the PM claims the word “marriage” means what he says it means.
Lord Phillips, who also supports using a different word to marriage to describe same-sex couples, is addressing the objection that children are not the crucial point of marriage because not all heterosexual couples can have children. He says that “escapes the point that same-sex unions can NEVER have procurative potential”.
Lord Cormack is claiming that the divide in the House of Lords over same-sex marriage is deeper than the vote suggested. He argues that Lord Hylton’s amendment introducing ‘unions’ would go “profoundly beyond” civil partnerships without infringing on marriage. “There are differences [between same-sex and opposite-sex couples] that cannot be eradicated”, he says.
Lord Hylton is suggesting that the word “union” is strong enough to describe the bond between same-sex couples, as it compares to the union between Scotland and the rest of the UK. He’s hoping that particular union doesn’t end in divorce!
Baroness Stowell is getting everyone to go through the bill line by line. First up, Lord Hylton, who wants the word “union” to be used instead of “marriage” for same-sex couples.
The House of Lords will be debating the same-sex marriage bill soon. Watch this space!
The amendment has been defeated and will now be read a second time! Thank you Lords!
They’re clearing the room for the vote on Lord Dear’s wrecking amendment. If it passes it can go on to a committee and third reading.
Lord Dear urges peers not to “dwell solely on emotion”
Lord Dear: The government consultation was “frankly, a mockery” and there are doubts about the process in the House of Commons.
Lord Dear: This vote will affect all members of our society.
Baroness Stowell urges peers in favour and undecided to vote against Lord Dear’s amendment – time for the vote!
In response to suggestions that same-sex couples could have their own form of relationships with a different name, Baroness Stowell says “They’re called civil partnerships”. Their introduction has enabled more people to come to accept same-sex marriage.
Norman Tebbit’s question, “Could the child of a monarch in a same-sex relationship succeed to the throne?”, was answered by Baroness Stowell: “Only the natural born child of a husband and wife is entitled to succeed to the throne.” Peers groaned as Lord Tebbit rose and asked “Isn’t that discrimination?”
Baroness Stowell is dealing with questions. She says the consultation on same-sex marriage was the largest ever in England and Wales.
Lord Tebbit just asked Baroness Thornton if his question about lesbian queens was going to be answered. It looks like Baroness Stowell will get that joy.
Baroness Thornton: “I may never say this again – I agree with the evidence Michael Gove gave in the House of Commons.” She says the large majority in favour in the House of Commons wasn’t due to a secret whip, but strength of feeling.
Baroness Thornton: Brilliant theological arguments have been woven against equality, but the state has moved away from religion. The quadruple lock will, at least, protect religious groups.
Lord Norton: For me, same-sex marriage is a matter of freedom. Religious groups should be free to allow or deny same-sex weddings.
Baroness O’Loan has concerns about the lack of a definition for adultery in same-sex couples.
Duke of Montrose: The bill “introduces many pitfalls” – gay couples should stick to civil partnerships.
96% of young LGBT people in secondary school hear homophobic language, and 1 in five who are bullied say teachers never intervene, says Lord Collins. “Being defined as moral and evil is just for starters” – LGBT people are compared to paedophiles and bestiality, which “fuels homophobic bullying”.
Lord Collins: My husband and I have taken every opportunity to celebrate our relationship, including a civil partnership. I’m glad some of the people who opposed civil partnerships have had a change of heart – hopefully they will not frustrate this move to full equality.
Lord Collins: “Britain can now claim to be a beacon to the world of equality for gay people.”
Baroness Jenkin: I’m a small-seat Conservative so I don’t like change – but same-sex marriage will be “radical” in a good way. It is controversial, but so was decriminalising homosexuality.
The Earl of Clancarty: No church should have a monopoly over marriage. This will be the meaning of equality. A gay religious person should be able to get married.
The Earl of Clancarty: “Young people’s opinion is well in advance of the legislation itself.”
Lord Glenarthur: Marriage is as important as a nonreligious institution as it is as a religious one. However, it is based on the difference and complimentarity between men and women.
Baroness Turner of Camden says there have been great steps toward equality, despite a small number of people who continue to commit homophobic violence. She says in the past a married woman was her husband’s property. Progress towards equality didn’t detract from marriage then.
Lord Bates: I have serious reservations about the bill that need to be addressed – but the House of Lords is the best place to do that.
Lord Bates: Marriage is irreplaceable. The health and wealth benefits are huge. Opening that up to more people won’t change that – it will “survive and adapt”.
Homophobic crime in Sweden fell by 28% after equal marriage was introduced, says Viscount Colville.
The Church originally did not recognise marriage, and it only became a religious ceremony in the 11th Century, points out Viscount Colville.
Children will be confused by the same-sex marriage bill, as official forms will have to use language like “Progenitor A” and “Progenitor B” instead of “father” and “mother”, says Lord Vinson. We’re impressed that his children are filling out official forms for him!
Equal marriage “defies common sense”, says Lord Vinson. “Husband” and “wife” will become “sexless words”.
Lord Faulkner: New Zealand legalised equal marriage with huge rejoicing and singing a traditional love song. Nowhere in scripture are loving same-sex relationships envisioned – but neither are nuclear bombs. You have to look to Biblical principles, like love.
“With our average age” we are not the best judges of public opinion, Lord Cope tells peers.
There is no reason to overrule the elected MPs in the House of Lords, says Lord Cope of Berkeley.
Lord Jay: To share with others what we value ourselves is a sign of a civilised, tolerant, and Christian society.
Lord Jay of Ewelme says he strongly supports the bill. He remembers that, when he worked in his younger days in the Foreign Office, people who were found out to be gay had to resign.
Lord Eden: The effect on children and their values could be “influenced” by the bill. Material produced by Stonewall for use in primary schools will cause “confusion”.
According to Lord Eden, marriage “counts for very little” in Sweden since same-sex marriage was legalised.
Lord Eden of Winton says the bill will detract from marriage by altering the meaning for everyone.
Lord Elis-Thomas spoke of the day he can have a “son and a son-in-law” and said the law of marriage should be devolved, as in “the golden age of Medieval Welsh law”, so Welsh Anglicans can determine whether to offer same-sex marriage.
Lord Elis-Thomas: “I am a communter from Cardiff Central… That gives me the opportunity to reflect.” He argues that Lord Dear’s amendment goes against the “logic” of the House of Lords as a revising body.
Lord Brennan: There are “at least five fundamental differences between heterosexual marriage and homosexual marriage” as the bill stands.
Lord Brennan tells Lord Carlile “have a care” when urging Parliament to lead the country – “This deserves much more careful debate”. He supports Lord Dear’s amendment.
Civil partnerships have served the needs of same-sex couples “comprehensively”, while marriage is not “the people’s wish”, says Lord Brennan.
Lord Brennan says “this bill may have background about love, but we are here to make law.”
Sexual orientation will become less of an issue if the bill passes, says Lord Faulks.
Lord Faulks has “reservations” about the Human Rights Act, but says the quadruple lock makes the bill “Strasbourg-proof” – at least for now.
Lord Aberdare says his marriage is one of the most important parts of his life, and he would be happy to “share” that with same-sex couples.
Lord Mackay is arguing that marriage is an anti-incestuous procreation measure, so same-sex couples should be excluded.
The bill has missed out on the opportunity to allow Humanist weddings, says Lord Birt.
Lord Birt says the bill “goes the whole hog” to allow gay couples to “feel free to present their partners with pride”. He has “not a scintilla of hesitation”.
Lord Birt says he didn’t know what homosexuality was back in the 1960s!
Lord Carlile has spoken of his daughter, who “found constant love” with another woman. He argues their love deserves the same recognition, through marriage, that they could have had with their past, “unenduring”, relationships with men.
Lord Carlile: Parliament has a duty to lead, as well as to follow public consensus
Lord Alli: “I heard echoes of [Section 28] last night”. Teachers being forced to teach about homosexuality is a lie, he says.
Marriage doesn’t belong to one people or religious group, argues gay peer Lord Alli – it’s about love. He is arguing that, while the Church of England may largely oppose same-sex marriage, other churches want to offer it. He asks the government to show “leadership” on the issue.
Lord Alli is on now, arguing for the right of everyone to say “Not tonight dear, I have a headache”.
Baroness Noakes rejects arguments made yesterday that gay people should get their own word for “marriage”. Any suggestions?
The debate has resumed in the House of Lords! Baroness Noakes is speaking first.
The House of Lords debate has been adjourned. We’ll be back tomorrow!
Lord Flight says it is not right to ‘railroad’ through the same-sex marriage bill
Lord Flight, who was the MP for Arundel and South Downs until he was deselected and replaced with openly gay Nick Herbert
Lord Phillips of Sudbury is speaking now. Only one more speaker to go!
Labour peer Baroness Gould of Potternewton is talking about Lucy Meadows when dealing with the trans issues in the Marriage bill
Labour peer Baroness Gould of Potternewton is giving the trans arguments on changing the law on marriage
Conservative peer Earl Courtown says that same-sex marriage will be a net gain, nothing is lost
The Bishop of Exeter says that such a change in the law has not happened outside of totalitarian states
Conservative peer Baroness Berridge says that Western Europe is out of step with the rest of the world in becoming less religious, not more religious. She opposes the bill but will not vote for Lord Dear’s amendment as the bill needs revising.
Baroness Mallalieu says that we’ll look back at the time that gay couples couldn’t marry in the way we look back in horror at teachers striking the hand of a child who wrote with a left hand
Earl of Shrewsbury and Waterford says that he will be abstaining from Lord Dear’s amendment
Lord Deben (John Gummer): I voted against civil partnerships because they were a fraud. Labour told gays it was marriage and straights it was not.
Conservative Lord Deben (John Gummer) says that on the basis of science, the state should not prevent gay couples from marrying
Lord Carey: The consultative process has been a sham. He also claims that the Conservatives would not have been to be able to form a Government if it had included same-sex marriage in its main manifesto.
Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, is speaking in the House of Commons right now
Lord Framlingham says voting against equal marriage will allow the House of Lords to show its relevance
Conservative peer Lord Framlingham says equal marriage is a symbol of how far Britain has ‘lost its moral compass’
Lord Browne says that marriage is a social not a religious construct
Former BP CEO Lord Browne of Madingley is now speaking in the debate in favour of same-sex marriage
Lord Tebbit gives his usual argument that gay men can get married, just only to a woman
Conservative peer Lord Edmiston says that 3 people should be allowed to get married if marriage is defined as ‘people in love’
Methodist minister Baroness Richardson of Calow said that she will support same-sex marriage
Lord Garel-Jones has said that he is delighted that same-sex marriage is supported by all three party leaders
Senior Reform Rabbi Baroness Neuberger is now speaking in favour of same-sex marriage
Lord Blair of Boughton: I hope that the Anglican church will unlock the ‘quadruple lock’
Former police chief Lord Blair of Boughton: “The tide of history is only running in one direction”. He called equal marriage a “great and noble cause”
Lord Cormack: Equal marriage is the most “profound piece of social engineering that has been put before Parliament”
Lord Smith is now speaking about the differences between civil partnerships and marriages
Labour peer Lord Campbell-Savours cites Alan Duncan and Chris Bryant’s comments during civil partnerships where they said that same-sex marriage would not be the consequence of civil partnerships
Lord Black of Brentwood says that he supports same-sex marriage because he is a Conservative and is gay
Conservative peer Baroness Knight of Collingtree has equated being gay to being blind. She added that same-sex marriage was the same as women having sperm and a man giving birth.
DUP peer Lord Browne of Belmont said that the issue of same-sex marriage should be returned to at the 2015 election
Conservative peer Viscount Astor has said that he supports equal marriage
The House of Lords has resumed its debate on equal marriage
The Lords are now taking a break from equal marriage for a statement on the EU and Woolwich
Former Bishop of Oxford, Lord Harries of Pentregarth says that all couples should be able to enter into marriages
Baroness Cumberlege says that LGBT community should find a new word, not ‘marriage’
Lord Harries of Pentregarth: I take a high view of a civil partnerships
Labour peer Lord Anderson of Swansea: Stonewall has only recently come to support same-sex marriage
Conservative peer Lord Jenkin of Roding: It will be a positive good for marriage in general
Lord Jenkin of Roding: It is pure fantasy that this bill will redefine marriages that already exist
Bishop Leicester says that he will abstain if there is a vote on the second reading on Marriage (Same-sex couples) Bill
Bishop Leicester says that the bill has been introduced too quickly to consider the implications of equality
Lord Pannick is almost point by point tearing down Lord Dear’s argument
Lord Waddington ending by saying this Bill is a “big mistake” earlier (sorry we had a technical issue earlier)
Lord Pannick is pointing out how the laws on marriage and divorce have been changed throughout history
Lord Waddington is now speaking in favour of Lord Dear’s wrecking amendment to protect the “essential nature” of marriage. It’s “no disrespect to anyone, just common sense” to have different unions for same-sex and opposite-sex couples, he says.
Baroness Brinton quotes from religious organisations that support equality in marriage
Baroness Brinton: I have found it hard to find Jesus speaking against same-sex marriage in the New Testament
Baroness Brinton: The cheers in the Lords on the first reading of the Alan Turing pardon bill shows that society is moving on about LGBT rights
Baroness Kennedy says that marriage has been changed a lot in the past
Lord Waddington is now speaking in favour of Lord Dear’s wrecking amendment to protect the “essential nature” of marriage. It’s “no disrespect to anyone, just common sense” to have different unions for same-sex and opposite-sex couples, he says.
Baroness Brinton quotes from religious organisations that support equality in marriage
Baroness Brinton: I have found it hard to find Jesus speaking against same-sex marriage in the New Testament
Baroness Brinton: The cheers in the Lords on the first reading of the Alan Turing pardon bill shows that society is moving on about LGBT rights
Baroness Kennedy says that marriage has been changed a lot in the past
Baroness Kennedy: It is people aged over 60 who express the greatest concern in changing the law, the same age as average age in the House of Lords
Lord Fowler: It was we the British who first made homosexuality a criminal offence in other countries like Uganda. Equal marriage will show how much how society has changed and show support for the persecuted minorities in our country. It will show gay people the right to expect ‘nothing more, but nothing less’
Lord Fowler: I’ve seen equality fiercely denied in a country like Ukraine and in Uganda.
Lord Fowler: There are many religious gay couples who wish to get married in churches
Lord Fowler: It is a wonder to me that civil partnerships are now so popular among people who opposed it before!
Lord Fowler said the Lords can not and should not block a free vote bill in the House of Commons
Archbishop of Canterbury says he “cannot support the bill as it stands”
Archbishop of Canterbury says that homophobia is ‘wrong and sickening’
Archbishop of Canterbury said he opposes Lord Dear’s amendment to kick out Marriage (same sex couple) bill at the second reading.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is speaking now and has said that most faith groups are opposed to equal marriage
Baroness Barker tells peers about employers like Nike and Microsoft that help LGBT staff fight inequality in the US because it is good for business
Baroness Royall says that the terms of reference for a civil partnerships review will be published during the committee stage of the bill
Speaking for the Labour party, Baroness Royall said that the bill has the Labour Party’s firm support. After wishing the anti-gay marriage Archbishop of York a speedy recovery, she also said she is glad that the Church of England now supports civil partnerships.
Baroness Royall said that she wishes there to be changes to pension arrangements for same-sex couples and to resolve issues relating to Humanist marriages.
Baroness Stowell of Beeston introduced the bill for the Government. She is a Conservative whip.
Lord Dear, a former police chief argued that the bill should not pass its second reading in the House of Lords. He quoted from Alice in Wonderland and claimed that equal marriage will cause more not less homophobia. He also argued that gay couples are now being given more rights that families. He also criticised the decision by the Government to announce review of civil partnerships.
MPs are currently debating how to rectify differences in pensions between same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
Julian Huppert just argued out that it’s unclear how humanist weddings would “unpick” the quadruple lock, or how they fall foul of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Deputy Speaker had to cut off a debate brewing between Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes, who said marriage was set up by God between men and women to procreate, and Labour’s Diane Abbott, who jumped in to defend infertile couples.
“Take advantage of this opportunity” to iron out issues like allowing humanist marriages, urges openly gay MP Crispin Blunt – after the same-sex marriage bill the government will be too “scarred” to venture into changing marriage legislation anytime soon.
Julian Huppert MP says in response to bizarre worries about tiddly-winks getting married, “I am not a tiddly-wink expert, but I am a humanist”.
Lib Dem Greg Mulholland is now reading his amendment proposing to have one single form of union, abolishing marriages and civil partnerships.
Tory MP Crispin Blunt has said in the Commons debate he was “astonished” by Sir Tony Baldry’s claim that extending human rights to a group could fall foul of Human Rights conventions.
Boris Johnson has called on the government to get the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill signed into law as soon as possible. More on this story here
MPs are debating whether to allow Humanist ministers to perform marriages. There’s more on this story here
Good morning, MPs are to debate and vote on further amendments to the Marriage (Same sex couples) Bill including one on Humanist weddings before the third reading of the bill. It is expected that MPs will vote in favour of the bill at the third reading and it will head to the House of Lords within the next few weeks.
Nick Herbert: Some of those who are proposing opposite sex civil partnerships are “breathing the word ‘equality’ for the first time
Tim Loughton: I don’t do wrecking. I am happy for the bill to progress if it is the will of this House.
Tim Loughton is arguing that opposite sex civil partnerships is not a ‘wrecking’ amendment and that it is a response to his belief that same-sex marriage will become law regardless of his objections.
Maria Miller the Minister for Equalities and the Labour shadow minister Kate Green are in agreement on a speedy review for the future of civil partnerships
Sir Tony Baldry: Extending civil partnerships to heterosexual couples will create a rival to marriage
Maria Miller: We don’t know exactly the implications of straight civil partnerships
Maria Miller is now proposing an amendment to have a review of civil partnerships
MPs have overwhelmingly voted to reject an opt-out for civil registrars who object to same-sex marriage
MPs are voting on whether to give civil registrars can opt out of performing same-sex marriages
Culture Minister Hugh Robertson: Allowing public sector workers such as civil registrars to opt out who they marry would be setting dangerous precedent
Chris Bryant has pointed out that if an amendment is passed that registrars can opt out of performing same-sex marriages, it would mean that in registry offices with only one registrar, same-sex couples will be banned from marrying.
We’ve been told that most Conservative supporters of equal marriage will vote for Labour’s manuscript amendment to Maria Miller’s amendment on a review of civil partnerships. We have been warned though that some might abstain on Tim Loughton’s amendment which could mean that both get passed.
Sir Gerald Howarth: “The aggressive homosexual community sees this as stepping stone to something further”
David Lammy: There was a 20-year-division on ending the slave trade
Chris Bryant opposes a belief in marriage being between only a man and a woman being a “protected characteristic” under the Equality Act, stating that a belief in the virgin birth of Christ is not a protected characteristic.
Edward Leigh argues that it opponents of same-sex marriage should be “protected” to allow them to state that “marriage is between one man and one woman”, whether they state that on social media or in the classroom.
Liberal Democrat Stephen Williams: Comparing the opt-outs for civil registrars to Catholics surgeons having an opt for abortion is wrong. Surgeons do lots of things, he argued, while registrars only conduct marriages
MPs will vote at 7pm and 10pm tonight on amendments on the equal marriage bill
The programme motion that limits the time given to debate the Marriage (Same sex couples) Bill has passed.
Sir Gerald Howarth says that Parliament should be concentrating at the deficit not in a “divisive” measure such as same-sex marriage
Sir Gerald Howarth has pointed out that a majority of Conservative MPs have opposed the bill
The Culture Minister Hugh Robertson and the Labour shadow minister Chris Bryant have proposed the programme motion for the Marriage (Same sex couples) Bill.
Anti-equality Conservative MP Peter Bone has opposed the programme motion.
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has said he hopes to move on to debate around the Marriage (same sex couples) Bill, at 16:30.
Conservative councillor Nigel Fletcher has posted this photograph of the same-sex marriage ‘YES’ rally
Sarah Wollaston MP gives a well received speech evoking the memory of Alan Turing
Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston: In five years time, we will look back at this debate and wonder what all the fuss was about
Tory MP Stewart Andrew talked about being “the only gay in the village” in Wales
Peter Bone: Equal marriage debate is the “saddest day as a Member of Parliament”
Peter Bone calls for a referendum on equal marriage
Peter Bone: There is a democratic deficit with the debate
Conservative Craig Whittaker: The Government should introduce ‘state marriage’ not equal marriage
Simon Hughes: Parliament should proceed very carefully to introduce equal marriage
Margot James: The debate has shown the modernisation of the Conservative party is not yet complete
Margot James: The Coalition for Marriage have deliberately and consistently misinterpreting the Government’s intentions
Edward Leigh: “I am a conservative. I do believe that we should be concerned about equality, but not at the expense of every other institution.”
Edward Leigh: Same-sex marriage is not evolution not revolution
Ben Bradshaw: I must say, the Church’s credibility in arguing this would be a lot more convincing if they welcomed and celebrated civil partnerships
Ben Bradshaw: The objections of the church is the residual prejudice against same-sex relationships
Nick Herbert: “Darling, our marriage is over! Elton John has just got engaged to David Furnish”
Nick Herbert who is in a civil partnership is speaking in favour of same-sex marriage
Stephen Gilbert, who proposed the Lib Dem’s policy on same-sex marriage is now speaking in the House
Labour MP Robert Flello arguing against equal rights for gay couples
Sir Menzies Campbell: This House has consistently passed legislation to make society fairer and more equal
Yvette Cooper: Marriage has changed many times and society hasn’t collapsed
Yvette Cooper: No one group or faith organisation owns the right to marriage
Yvette Cooper just used some of the arguments that PinkNews founder Benjamin Cohen suggested. That he wants to have a similar wedding to his parents and grandparents and why do gay people have to disclose their sexuality on forms by ticking ‘civil partnership’ boxes
Yvette Cooper says that some gay couples want to get married. They should be allowed to do so.
People love the idea of weddings, she says. The impact assessment says spending on weddings will rise by £14m. George Osborne needs all the help he can get to boost the economy, she jokes.
Yvette Cooper praises Maria Miller for her conduct and role in the bringing forward equal marriage
Loud cheers of “here, here” in the PinkNews office as Maria Miller sits down!
Maria Miller: No teacher will be forced to endorse something they don’t believe.
Margot James: Church of England said that it was unlikely that the Church would be forced to conduct same-sex marriages
Maria Miller: It is inconceivable that any case would be taken to the European Court of Human Rights. Churches have nothing to worry about.
Mike Freer MP points out that no church have ever been taken to the European Court of Human Rights in Catholic Spain for not offering same-sex marriages
Nigel Dodds, the DUP MP, says that the bill is a low political calculation and de-toxifying the Tory brand. Maria Miller says that the measure was included in the Conservative’s Contract for Equalities. (It was also raised by David Cameron to PinkNews in 2010)
Labour MP Chris Bryant Tweets: Toby Perkins says he’s supporting bill as Jesus was great example of support 4 equality. Not sure Jesus had an equal ops recruitment policy.
Maria Miller: Freedom of faith should not come at the cost of freedom of marriage
Caroline Lucas criticises the Government for the different stance taken to the Church of England
Simon Hughes suggests that Maria Miller considers changing the addition of religious marriage
Maria Miller justifying why religious institutions should be allowed to conduct same-sex marriages if they wish to.
Maria Miller says that Parliament needs to “legislate not just for today but to the future”
Lynne Featherstone, the former Equalities Minister is sitting next to the current Equalities Minister, Helen Grant. It’s thanks to Lynne that it is happening.
Stewart Jackson, a Tory MP, raises the issue of consummation and adultery
Maria Miller has begun her argument, stating that “every marriage is different”
David Cameron will not be at the opening of the debate for same-sex marriage in the House of Commons
Maria Miller, the culture secretary and equalities minister, is opening the debate.
She says all marriages are different. But marriage offers the chance for lifelong loving support. The commitment in same-sex couples is the same as in other couples. That should be acknowledged, she says.