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.