MPs debate Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

05 February 2013

MPs debated the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in the House of Commons on Tuesday 5 February 2013. Second reading was agreed on division, 400 votes to 175

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Minister for Women and Equalities, Maria Miller, opened the debate.

Shadow Secretary of State for Home Department and Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, Yvette Cooper, responded on behalf of the Opposition.

Progress of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

The Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 24 January 2013. Second reading took place on Tuesday 5 February.

The Commons voted by 499 votes to 55 for the Bill to be sent to a Public Bill Committee which will scrutinise the Bill line by line.

The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. It is expected to meet for the first time on Tuesday 12 February. The Committee will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the Committee stage on Tuesday 12 March 2013.

The Commons also agreed by 464 votes to 38, to the Bill continuing its passage through Parliament in the next session if it is not completed in the current session.

Keep up to date with all the proceedings and documentation, including amendment papers, on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill and find out how a bill becomes an Act of Parliament.

Summary of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

This Bill would introduce civil marriage for same sex couples, and enable religious organisations to opt in to conduct same sex marriages if they wish to do so.

The Bill includes provisions intended to protect religious organisations and individuals from being forced to conduct same sex marriages.

The Bill would also enable civil partners to convert their partnership to a marriage and would enable married transsexual people to gain legal recognition in their acquired gender without having to end their marriage.

House of Commons Library analysis

The House of Commons Library produces briefing papers to inform MPs of key issues. The papers contain factual information and a range of opinions on each subject, and aim to be politically impartial. The Library has published a briefing paper for second reading.

What happens at second reading?

At second reading the House debates the whole principle of the bill. It usually takes place no sooner than two weekends after first reading.

The Member in charge or the Minister moves the motion ‘that the bill be now read a second time’. MPs then debate the bill.

At the end of the debate the Speaker determines whether there are any objections to the motion being debated and asks for the Ayes and Noes. 

Members voice their opinion, and if no objections are made, the bill passes second reading without a vote. If the Speaker believes Members have voiced disagreement a division is called and a vote taken.

What happens after second reading?

If the Bill passes second reading and the programme motion is agreed, the Bill will go to a Public Bill Committee for consideration.

At a Public Bill Committee, each clause (part) and any amendments (proposals for change) to the Bill may be debated. MPs table amendments they wish to be considered.

Any amendments, together with explanatory notes and other papers will be listed in the Bill documents page for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

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