Latest Public Sector News

21.05.13

Gay marriage ‘wrecking amendment’ rejected by MPs

The legislation to introduce same-sex marriage survived backbench Tory opposition last night and will receive its third and final reading in the House of Commons later today.

A “wrecking” amendment to extend civil partnerships to heterosexual couples tabled by former children’s minister Tim Loughton, was defeated by 375 votes to 70 following a deal between ministers and the Labour leadership.

MPs backed a Labour plan to consult on civil partnership changes quickly, possibly within the next few months, rather than in 2019.

Loughton rejected claims his proposal was intended to ruin the Bill through delays and extra costs, saying extending civil partnerships to co-habiting heterosexuals addressed a “glaring inequality” in current proposals.

Shadow equalities minister Kate Green said: “We are certainly anxious to do all we can to ensure that same-sex marriages arrives as swiftly as possible on the statute book.”

An amendment is being put forward by the British Humanist Association today to allow recognised groups to officiate at marriage ceremonies. Currently, people who have Humanist weddings must have their marriage made legal through a registry office.

Chief executive Andrew Copson said: “The amendment does not open up legal recognition for any new weddings other than humanist ones.

“Humanist weddings are popular and meaningful and legal recognition for them would be fair, timely, and not at all controversial.”

If the Bill is approved tonight, it will go to the House of Lords tomorrow, where further opposition is expected. MPs have a free vote on the issues, and more than 100 Tories registered objections to different parts of the legislation yesterday.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

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