Friday, 28 June 2013

Update on Gay marriage Bill in House of Lords - what happens next?

Colin Hart, Campaign Director of the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), has this week issued a very useful summary on the current status of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which is now moving to Report Stage in the House of Lords.  

It outlines the main concerns with the bill and the way it undermines civil liberties and changes the meaningsof words like ‘husband’ and ‘wife’.

I have reproduced it below:

The Bill has now completed its Committee Stage. As is usual, there have been no votes during Committee Stage. The Bill now moves to Report Stage, scheduled to take place on 8 and 10 July, when we expect there will be votes on key amendments.

During Committee Stage, many Peers have been pressing for a long list of protections for people who believe in traditional marriage, including:

• Protecting people at work from being disciplined just because they voice support for traditional marriage.

• Stopping local authorities using the Public Sector Equality Duty to ban a church from hiring public facilities just because the church disagrees with same-sex marriage.

• Protecting foster carers from being blacklisted by social workers just because they believe marriage is the union of a man and woman.

• Giving couples the option of marrying according to the real definition of marriage, rather than being forced to marry according to the new genderless definition.

• Protecting the right of teachers to express support for traditional marriage without risking their careers.

• Making clear that freedom of speech about marriage should not be restricted by equality laws.

There have been some passionate and excellent speeches from Peers who support these protections, including from a number of the country’s top legal experts. A former Lord Chancellor and two former senior judges lent their voices to the call for civil liberty safeguards.

The Government has promised to change the criminal law so that criticism of same-sex marriage won’t be, of itself, a hate-crime. We welcome that reassurance, but our primary concern lies with civil, not criminal, law. For example, employment law and discrimination law – where the problems are most likely to arise – are part of civil law. Here, the Government has stubbornly refused to give an inch on safeguarding the freedom of people who believe in traditional marriage.

They even went as far as saying people who work in the private sector – let alone public sector – should be fired if they refuse to provide services for a same-sex wedding. As far as the Government is concerned, there should be no liberty of conscience in those circumstances.

That shows what we’re up against, but we have no intention of backing down. We will be working hard to call for safeguards for people – like you – who support traditional marriage.

This is important work, but we haven’t stopped defending the principle of real marriage. We always said the Government would tie itself in knots trying to redefine marriage, and here is just one example: in the official Explanatory Notes which accompany the Bill, the Government says:

The terms “husband” and “wife” here refer to a person who is married for the purposes of paragraph 1(2)(c) of Schedule 3. This means that “husband” here will include a man or a woman in a same sex marriage, as well as a man married to a woman. In a similar way, “wife” will include a woman married to another woman or a man married to a man. The result is that this section is to be construed as including both male and female same sex marriage. 

In other words, under this Bill, a woman can be a “husband” and a man can be “wife”. It just shows that words lose all meaning when politicians meddle with marriage.


  1. Ah yes, the tired old argument that Christians are being "persecuted" by being required to follow the law against discrimination. Your pity party's old and you're the last guest to leave, Peter.

    1. Social workers in this country are working to ensure that children are taken off their parents, and never see their parents again, when their parents are against SSM. I'm deadly serious about this. This is a fact.

      Does that count as "persecution" in your scheme of things, Winston? Are you pleased about this development?

  2. It astounds me why gay people have to try and change things for everyone by trying to play happy families. Two men and two women can never be married, no matter what the government says. fifty years ago this perversion was illegal, thirty years ago it was acceptable and now its being promoted as normal. What a crazy state of affairs, its the children I feel sorry for.

    1. Why do you pity the children? I'm sure they would be profoundly insulted by your arrogant assumption that they are worse off by default simply because their parents are gay.

      "An interim report found there was no statistical difference between children of same-sex couples and the rest of the population on indicators including self-esteem, emotional behaviour and the amount of time spent with parents.

      However, children of same-sex couples scored higher than the national average for overall health and family cohesion, measuring how well a family gets along.

      Researchers said the difference between the two groups on these measures was so strong it would only occur by chance less than one in 10,000 times."

      And for evil heterosexual parents:

    2. Winston

      No such thing as gay, just sexual sin like the other sexual sins.

    3. DM and Martin
      It astounds me that followers of the Lord Jesus Christ have taken on board the G word, instead of identifying them by the correct terminology: that is they are homosexuals and lesbians. As you say they are sinners in need of Gods Grace.

      I was an adulterer but thanks to God and his Grace I have been forgiven and made righteous in his sight through the act of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    4. No such thing as sin, Martin. There are no gods to offend, after all.

      AR - thank you for summarising Christian morality very succinctly. After all, why be good when you can simply be forgiven?

  3. DM - seconded! Winston, marriage has been between man and woman since time immemorial, so that the children born as a result can have a secure upbringing. It is thus more than the endorsement by society of a sexual relationship and two of the same sex, who cannot, by nature, produce offspring have no need to marry. If two people love one another, they don't need to marry; two sisters might be very close, or two brothers, cousins, friends ... if you extend "marriage" to two people who wish to signify that the relationship between them is particularly significant, shouldn't it apply to any two who are close, don't they have rights, too?

    1. Those are separate issues, but why not? Polygamy was not condemned in the bible, and the 10th commandment explicitly treats women as property.

  4. The law will not prevent people from voicing their support for traditional marriage. There is no provision for this in the legislation.
    If the law allows same sex marriage, it would not be logical for secular authorities to hire out publicly owned premises for a use which sought actively to thwart that law.
    Clearly if foster parents hold views which would compromise the long-term wellbeing of their adopted children, social workers have a duty of care to deselect them as carers. This is exactly the case when foster carers care for LGBT children, who, of course will not necessarily even themselves aware of their sexuality.
    There are many places in the world where same sex marriage is a reality and has been for some time. I know of none where the terms 'husband' and 'wife' have lost their meaning. There are none where marriage has become available for sisters and brothers. To assert these as possibilities is simply to use scare tactics and it is even counter-productive to the makers of the argument, since it is obviously nonsense.

    1. There is no such thing as LGBT children, or adults, just sexual sinners.

    2. Martin are you being deliberately inflammatory?

  5. I disagree with same sex marriage as I believe and am supported by the bible that sexual activity between a man and a man or a woman and a woman is sinful, just as I believe that sexual activity out side of marriage between a man and a woman (whether neither of them are married or one or both of them are married to another person)is sinful, or whether a man or a woman commits murder, does not love God with all their heart or hates a fellow person (Jesus says hatred of a person is as murdering them).
    What I also believe is that even before we were born Jesus Christ paid the wages of our sin so as to set us free from the power of sin and to give all who trust him and repent of their sins eternal LIFE.
    I also believe that in line with much of Europe those who have been called by God to be a shepherd of His people (that is a vicar, pastor priest minister etc.) should resign from being unpaid registrars and that the trustees of places of worship (commonly known as "Churches") should have them de-registered as a place where marriages can be performed.
    This would then leave it open for a CHURCH to have a celebration of the marriage between believing disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  6. "Protecting foster carers from being blacklisted by social workers just because they believe marriage is the union of a man and woman."

    Oh good. I am so glad that the important people like Colin Hart have thought of this particular snag, and are trying to strain out this particular tiny little gnat.

    What a pity that no amendments are being moved that will protect anti-SSM natural, biological parents from social workers who are on a mission to ensure that those natural, biological parents never see their *own* natural, biological children again. God alone knows how many parents are in *that* position today. I know of one such myself, who is desperate to find a lawyer.

    Still, better to try to strain out a gnat, whilst swallowing a camel like that, than nothing.

    All the same, it's sad for this victim, whose son is just as much a victim:

    "Two year-old’s contact stopped with “homophobic” dad"

    Please forgive me if I sound bitter. It's just that I *am* bitter. You see, I don't really think that anti-SSM foster carers losing their livelihoods matters much, in the great scheme of things. Not compared with the "elephant in the room" that everybody seems to be trying to pretend isn't there: the much greater, and much more commonplace persecution of never being allowed to see one's *own* children again, as long as one lives, because a social worker has found out that one is critical of same sex marriage.

    Don't believe that this is happening? Not read about it in the Daily Mail yet? No, you won't. The papers aren't allowed to publicise it when the social services take children off their real parents, because their real parents oppose SSM. But I ***promise*** you that this is happening. And, to my mind, that is MUCH more serious than the comparatively trivial issue of foster carers that has the House of Lords, and Colin Hart, all worked up.

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