Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill: Royal assent

17 July 2013

The Commons has approved all changes proposed to the bill by the Lords, and it has today received royal assent and become law (Wednesday 17 July)

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill third reading: Monday 15 July

Lords discussed pension arrangements for same sex couples. The bill returned to the House of Commons for consideration of Lords' changes.

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill report stage day two: Wednesday 10 July

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill concluded report stage, a further opportunity to examine the bill and make changes, in the Lords on Wednesday 10 July.

Members of the Lords discussed suggested changes including equalising pension arrangements. The amendment was withdrawn after the government promised to address the issue during the next stage of the bill. A proposal that the bill should include definitions of two forms of marriage was withdrawn without going to a vote.

An amendment calling for a review of the Civil Partnership Act to consider extending the case for eligibility to carers and co-habiting family members under special conditions was taken to a vote. The result was 89 for and 267 against, so the change was not made.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill now moves to third reading, the final check and 'tidy up' the bill. It is scheduled for 15 July.  

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill report stage day one: Monday 8 July

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill began report stage, a further opportunity to examine the bill and make changes, in the Lords yesterday (Monday 8 July).

Lords began by debating the terminology around same sex marriage. An amendment was proposed to seek to refer to same sex marriage as ‘marriage (same sex couples)’, and opposite sex marriage as 'marriage (opposite sex couples)', this went to a vote which resulted in 119 for and 314 against.

Peers then moved on to discuss conscientious objection to same sex marriages and whether a registrar could object to carrying out a same sex marriage. This went to a vote, with 103 for and 278 against.

There was a further vote about the rights of teachers to express their personal views about marriage and whether they should be under any obligation to endorse a particular view. The government spokesperson stated that teachers would not be under any obligation to promote same sex marriage, beyond teaching its legal position, if they do not agree with it. The amendment went to a vote, resulting in 32 voting for and 163 against.

The last vote was on an amendment detailing changes to marriage ceremonies and the process of converting a civil partnership to a marriage. The vote resulted in 15 for and 84 against the amendment, with the government spokesperson assuring the Lords that this would be debated further in the future.

A second day of report stage is scheduled for 10 July.

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill committee stage day three: Monday 24 June

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill concluded committee stage, line-by-line examination of the bill, in the Lords on Monday 24 June.

Lords began by debating pensions, and whether survivor benefits should be extended to same sex couples. They then looked at how marriage should be taught in religious schools and whether there should be a review of the impact of same sex marriage should the bill become law. They also discussed a referendum on same sex marriage in the UK. 

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill committee stage day two: Wednesday 19 June

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill continued committee stage, line-by-line examination of the bill, in the Lords on Wednesday 19 June.

Lords discussed how religious organisations and individuals could be further protected from unfavourable treatment if they refused to carry out same sex marriages. They also spoke about humanist beliefs, whether marriage could be extended to humanists, and the procedure to convert a civil partnership into a marriage.

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill committee stage day one: Monday 17 June

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill began committee stage, line-by-line examination of the bill, in the Lords on Monday 17 June.

Lords discussed whether the term ‘marriage’ should be replaced with another term for same sex couples, protecting people expressing their views on marriage from discrimination and the rights of religious officials who do not wish to conduct a same sex marriage.

Lords debates Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill second reading: Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 June

Members of the Lords discussed the key principles and purpose of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill during second reading, on Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 June.

Peers outlined the key features of the bill, including the ‘quadruple lock’ which is designed to ensure no religious organisation or individual church minister could be compelled to marry same-sex couples, or permit a same-sex marriage to take place on its premises. Lords who backed the bill spoke about how it can enhance and protect personal freedoms, those who opposed it expressed concerns that it could weaken the institution of marriage.

An amendment to the motion that the bill should be read a second time was proposed. This amendment was voted on, with 148 for and 390 against.

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill summary

The bill seeks to define laws:

  • around the marriage of same sex couples in England and Wales
  • about gender change by married persons and civil partners
  • on consular functions in relation to marriage
  • for the marriage of armed forces personnel overseas.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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