Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The House of Lords in Favour of Same-sex Marriage Bill

After passing in the House of Commons last May 21, the House of Lords has just passed at second reading the same-sex marriage bill for England and Wales, this Tuesday evening.

After two long days of intense debate, in which more than 90 Peers have explained their position on marriage equality and showed deep divisions, the Britain's Upper House has finally passed the bill for 390 votes to 148. 

The landslide vote for gay marriage was greeted with cheers from supporters of gay marriage outside the Parliament in London.

The House of Lords scrutinises the bills that have been approved by the House of Commons, and it can reviews and amends them. It also can delay bills and force the Commons to reconsider its decisions. But it's highly unusual for the unelected peers to block a bill of government that had received the support of the elected Commons.

Now, the same-sex marriage bill will go on to committee in the Lords, where it will be scrutinised line-by-line on the floor of the Upper House, but in any case the bill has just passed a crucial hurdle.

Great news from UK!

The House of Lords debate

Reading the result of the vote

Gay marriage's supporters outside Parliament

A gay chorus supporting equal marriage outside Parliament


  1. I just read that one of the reasons the margin was so high for passage was a constitutional one -- some peers objected to blocking this legislation at the second reading, and not at the third reading which is what usually happens. A block in the second stage was seen as a major slap at The Prime Minister, which we can assume the Conservative Peers might want to avoid. If they would have sat tight, and waited until the third reading, they would have given the government less of a victory. Passage is certain, but more protection for those religions which do not want this, and for churches which do not want to host this, may be added in committee and approved in a third reading.

  2. I agree Eddi, and the bill is certain to face stiff opposition during detailed line-by-line scrutiny in its later stages.

    However, it's still likely that attempts will be made to amend it in the Lords, in particular to strengthen the protection available to churches who do not want to conduct gay weddings. Sure religious organizations will be able to "opt in" if they consent to offering gay weddings.

    But the size of the majority means the bill must now be certain to become law.