UK Same-sex Marriage Set To Enter Law Later This Week


1947-2014 (Archived)
Same-sex marriage set to enter law later this week

The bill allowing same-sex couples to marry in England and Wales has passed its final hurdle in Parliament.

The government legislation is now due to get royal assent, after which it is likely to become law later this week.

The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaderships all backed the bill, after the Lords approved the changes on Monday.

It is expected that the first gay and lesbian wedding ceremonies will take place by summer next year.

Under the terms of the the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, religious organisations will have to "opt in" to offering weddings, with the Church of England and Church in Wales being banned in law from doing so.


MPs decided not oppose a number of minor changes agreed by the House of Lords.

Among these were protections for transgender couples, which will allow people to change sex and remain married.

There will also be a review of whether groups such as the humanists will be allowed to carry out marriages, while ministers said they were prepared to look at eliminating any difference in the treatment of gay couples when it came to pension schemes.

During the Commons debate, equalities minister Maria Miller said people should be free to marry "regardless of sexuality or gender".

The passing of the bill was "clear affirmation" that "respect for each and every person is paramount, regardless of age, religion, gender, ethnicity or sexuality", she added.

But Conservative MP Sir Gerald Howarth, one of the bill's opponents, said it was "astonishing that a bill for which there is absolutely no mandate, against which a majority of Conservatives voted, has been bulldozed through both Houses".

He added: "I think the government should think very carefully in future if they want the support of these benches. Offending large swathes of the Conservative Party is not a good way of going about it."

But Paul Parker, recording clerk for Quakers in Britain, said: "It's wonderful to see same-sex marriage achieve legal recognition. Quakers see the light of God in everyone so we respect the inherent worth of each individual and each loving relationship."


1947-2014 (Archived)
A clarification from any member from the UK would be helpful. The law permits "religious organizations to opt in." To me that means that a particular denomination (e.g., Methodists or Quakers) can as a whole decide whether to sanctify same-sex unions in their particular form of marriage ceremony. I also understand from the article that the Church in England, and in Wales is "banned" by law from "opting in."

This is the part I do not understand. How does this bill address the rights of what would be a large number of couples who are members of the Church in England or in Wales? It is the majority religion. Presumably a majority of couples seeking same-sex marriages would be members of that Church.

Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Sikh congregations are free to decide one way or the other. Church of England congregations would not be free to decide ... by law. It would seem that one law is contradicting the other law. How does that grant equal rights to same-sex couples in the Church of England or Wales? Or would they have to marry outside of their faith?
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Tejwant Singh

Civil partnerships have been legal in the UK since 2004 which gives the same governmental rights to the LGBT as to the straight couples.

The only difference in the new law just passed is the word Marriage is added to it which has been dominated/monopolised by the religious sectors. Now, the Churches, The Temples, The Mosques, The Gurdwaras and other religious places have the option to join in the trend already started in 2004.

Hence, nothing really has changed except the added name Marriage. Having said that, “The Bouquet” has been thrown in the religious aisles now with this law. Let’s see if the religiosos are courageous enough and follow the god they worship that all are created equal and let the LGBT people pick that bouquet up thrown down their aisles even with the nod from The Queen as an added factor.

Here is an interesting article:

Tejwant Singh
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