2013 Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill Unveiled

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 24 January 2013.

The Bill, which would allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales, was welcomed by many in its first unveiling, including Stonewall.

The organisation Labour Humanists said there was “no credible ethical reason” to oppose gay marriage and Minister for Women and Equalities, Maria Miller, told the House of Commons that the proposals “will strengthen, not weaken” the institution of marriage.

The Bill was not been without its staunch opposition however.

Tory MP Peter Bone suggested the Church of England reply to the Government’s consultation on equal marriage on the basis that it is “completely nuts.”

The Coalition for Marriage, whilst giving evidence to the the Public Bill Committee of the House of Commons stated that the proposed Bill was responsible for a shortage of teachers, claiming that many experienced teachers had said they would retire early, for fear of getting into trouble for voicing anti-equal marriage opinions.

Another Tory MP David Burrowes, also accused PinkNews.co.uk of “fomenting hostility” against the opponents of equal marriage.

He asked Benjamin Cohen: “In terms of freedom, in terms of PinkNews, do you think your forum should be free to allow for the fomenting of hostility, hatred and accusations of homophobia for people like me, who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and the distinct value of it?”

Lord Dear also introduced several wrecking amendments throughout the Bill’s legislation which attempted to add “belief in traditional marriage” as an equal marriage clause.

One amendment stated: “For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in this Act shall contradict the principle that the belief that marriage is the voluntary union of one man and one woman for life to the exclusion of all others is a belief worthy of respect in a democratic society.”

On 15 July, the Bill passed through its passed through its Report Stage in the House of Lords, and has now passed its third reading on Monday.

On 16 July 2013, following a two hour debate, the House of Commons approved the amendments passed in the House of Lords at third reading and it became law on the 17 of July.

The move was welcomed in columns for PinkNews by the Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband.