Current Affairs

Lord Stoddart urges for potential withdrawal from European Court due to equal marriage bill

June 21, 2013
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The former Labour MP Lord Stoddart says the UK must be prepared to leave the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) if it comes into conflict with the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill for England and Wales.

Lord Stoddart, 87, a staunch Eurosceptic and former chairman of the Campaign for an Independent Britain said in May that the concept of same-sex marriage was “bogus” and that many gay people “do not want this”.

Labour MP for Swindon between 1970–1983, the life peer has tabled an amendment to the bill.

It states: “In the event that the provisions of this Act are found by the European Court of Human Rights to be incompatible with the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Secretary of State shall act to withdraw the United Kingdom’s signature to the Convention.”

Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, the vice president of the Law Society, said in June 2012 that it was unlikely that the European Court of Human Rights would rule against a religious organisation in a same-sex marriage legal case.

The UK Government has repeatedly stressed that such an event is unlikely to happen.

European law already puts protection for religious freedom beyond doubt (under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights) but the government intends to go even further and put in place a “quadruple lock” in domestic law.

It will be unlawful for religious organisations, or their ministers, to marry gay couples unless the organisation’s governing body has expressly opted in to do so.

Several amendments to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill seeking to allow civil registrars to opt out of providing same-sex marriages were withdraw in the House of Lords this week.

Peers will resume debate of the bill on Monday for the final day of its committee stage.

More: ECHR, England, equal marriage, European Convention of Human Rights, european court of human rights, gay marriage, gay wedding, gay weddings, house of lords, lords, Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, marriage equality, same sex marriage, same sex weddings, Same-sex wedding, UK Marriage Bill

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