John M. Becker

One Step Closer to Equal Marriage in the UK

Filed By John M. Becker | June 05, 2013 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: equal marriage, gay marriage, House of Lords, marriage equality, same-sex marriage, United Kingdom

uk_parliament.JPGYesterday, by an overwhelming 242-vote margin, the UK's House of Lords defeated an attempt to kill a marriage equality bill, advancing it to the next stage in the parliamentary process instead.

The 390-148 vote came after two days of sometimes colorful debate. For example, Baroness Jill Knight -- the 85-year-old conservative peer who introduced Britain's notorious Section 28 -- explained that she opposed marriage equality because God made blind people. Seriously. PinkNews reports:

[Knight] said "a higher authority" than any peer, had "already decided that people are not equal," because "some people can see, others are blind."

She went on to offer a stereotype about gay people, saying they are "delightful," and "very artistic," before observing that men can't "bear a child," that women can't "produce sperm," and that "no law on earth can change that."

Other anti-gay Lords worried that marriage equality would lead to polgyamy and incest, wondered whether a future lesbian Queen's baby would be able to inherit the Throne, and claimed that other countries which allowed same-sex marriage experienced a "precipitious" decline in opposite-sex weddings as a result.

But there were uplifting moments as well. In her speech, Baroness Liz Barker spoke about loving another woman, coming out publicly for the first time. Lord Patrick Jenkin, a former member of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's cabinet, told his fellow peers that condemning someone for being gay made about as much sense as condemning someone for having red hair. And Lord Guy Black, the first openly gay peer from the Conservative Party, said that he wanted to marry his partner of nearly 25 years because he believes in the "values of the family."

After yesterday's vote, the marriage equality bill now proceeds to the committee stage, where it will receive even further scrutiny and possible amendments. If you're a visual learner, check out this graphic representation of the bill's progress through Parliament:

joe_marriage_uk.jpg

Having passed its second reading yesterday in the House of Lords by such an overwhelming margin, the marriage equality bill is nearly certain to become law. Wonderful, isn't it?


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