A Government-introduced amendment to the Marriage (Same Sex Marriage) Bill to ensure a full review and public consultation on humanist weddings, has been added to the bill.
Baroness Stowell of Beeston introduced Amendment 7, drafted by Baroness Meacher, Lord Gare-Jones, Baroness Brinton and Lord Alli, which will ensure the review and consultation take place.
During the debate before the amendment was added, Baroness Stowell said: “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”
The full first section of the amendment reads: “The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for the Registrar General to approve and permit organisations that are registered charities principally concerned with advancing or practising a non-religious belief to solemnise marriages according to their usages on the authority of a superintendent registrar’s certificate, and for related purposes.”
Baroness Glenys Thornton, the Shadow Minister for Equalities, welcomed the amendment, and Baroness Stowell said: “Right back at ya”, to Baroness Thornton following praise for cross-party collaboration on the idea of a consultation.
Following the debate, the amendment was added to the bill.
A previous amendment to the bill concerning humanist marriage ceremonies, was withdrawn during the third and final reading of the bill in the House of Commons, after the attorney general warned that it would fall foul of the European Convention on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).
Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Gilbert was a supporter of the previous amendment.
Writing for PinkNews.co.uk, the MP said: “The prime minister may have to accept that there are likely to be majorities in the House of Commons for opposite sex civil partnerships, humanist weddings as well as equal marriage for gay and lesbian people. He should welcome these changes.”