Same sex marriage about to become legal in Britain?

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I'm surprised this hasnt gotten a thread yet.

at the time of writing this (5th feburary) the House Of Commons in the UK is about to vote on a bill which will allow same sex couples to get married

there is a live debate on the BBC website if anyone is interested

thoughts?

And here I thought they already could.

It's about time Britain caught up with...um...Iowa and a handful of other states, I guess? Yeah, we have a ways to go.

LetalisK:
It's about time Britain caught up with...um...Iowa and a handful of other states, I guess? Yeah, we have a ways to go.

Netherlands, Belgium, France, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Spain, Portugal... A few days ago France joined the club too. Countries that still have religious discrimination in marriage are rapidly becoming a minority in the western world.

Plus there's an EU directive in the air to try and force through a solution, but strangely enough Germany of all countries stalled it.

The UK already has Civil Partnerships, which is the same as marraige in every way except the name, this new bill is about letting gay people get married and (though I might be mixing this up with the Scottish one) letting straight couples have Civil Partnerships.

No religious organisation will be forced to marry anyone, so nothing changes there, and it's the state that marries anyway.

Also it's our Right wing that's putting through this bill. While their party is split it appears the majority is just in favour of it. The two Left wing parties (one of which is also in government) also seem to be in favour of it, but no surprises there.

Blablahb:
Plus there's an EU directive in the air to try and force through a solution, but strangely enough Germany of all countries stalled it.

It's not really that strange with our Christian (center-)right-wing party in power. Even the loathsome FDP is on the right side on that particular issue funnily enough; I guess sometimes they remember they're supposed to be for civil rights.

Well, good.

Not that I'll ever understand why any gay person would wish to associate with Abrahamic religion, after 1700 years of persecution. But when even one person wish it, the state has no business denying it.

Happened to watch some of the Commons debate today.

David Lammy MP, Labour: "There are still those who say this is all unnecessary. Why do we need gay marriage when we already have civil partnership, they say. They are the same - separate but equal - they claim. Let me speak frankly - separate but equal is a fraud. Separate but equal is the language that tried to push Rosa Parks to the back of the bus."

I was going to wait until the bill had actually been voted on.

Current theories are (of some 304, I think, Conservative MPs) 120 will vote against the bill and 60 will abstain. However, the Conservatives are not even a majority party, and since Labour and the Lib Dems seem to be in virtually unanimous support of the bill, it will hopefully pass.

I do worry about some of the drafting though - sure, allowing religious institutions to opt-out (well, they legally have to opt-in under the current proposal) is a good call in terms of balancing freedom from bigotry and freedom of religion; but the bill also prohibits the Church of England from opting-in if it wanted to (which, though many lower-level clergy support the idea of gay marriage, the institution as a whole and the new Archbishop of Canterbury are fundamentally opposed to the idea). That seems generally daft - the proposal has managed to piss everybody off (supporters of gay marriage were told civil unions could be "upgraded" to a marriage which seems to confirm the idea that a civil union is a lesser union in the eyes of the government; those who are anti-gay marriage were annoyed that the bill was going through; and while most religious institutions are going to have a choice in whether they will perform gay marriages or not, the "special treatment" the Church of England is getting in the matter has annoyed them - and members of the C of E who support gay marriage). Even if they sort this drafting nightmare out out, the bill still has to go through the Lords for endorsement - the Lords which contains many Conservative peers (Conservatives are the largest anti-gay marriage faction) and Bishops (see above about the Church of England).

Some of the arguments have been fantastic though (did anybody see the two Conservatives arguing on Daily Politics?) and it is particularly interesting to see the Tories tear their own party apart (at least on this issue) so shortly after David Cameron got such a popularity boost (both within the party and from Conservative supports) from his pledge of an EU referendum. With the failure to pass the constituency boundary reform bill (which will have denied the Conservatives vital seats in the next election), and the threat of 20% of Conservative voters not voting for the party again at the next general election if this legislation goes through, it is quite an interesting time - the "nasty party" (not my designation, it was part of the argument for why the Tories should support gay marriage) may have killed it's own chances at the general election in just a couple of years time...though somehow I doubt it, as it is not like they're going to switch to Labour is it (and they're equally unlikely to sit idly by and let Labour back into power)!

All in all I think this is a good step - I am a great supporter of gay marriage, and props to the Conservatives for putting this forward (even if it is blatant pandering to attract new voter demographics...perhaps at a cost of their most loyal base), and I hope the bill passes and is ratified in a sensible form.

I can't watch the parliament channel for fear of throwing something at the TV when a Tory opens his mouths and opens up with a load of bigoted homophobic remarks veiled under concern for traditional values or religion.

"I am not a Tory moderniser. I believe marriage can only be between a man and a woman and I shall not surrender my principles. I believe this bill is wrong, the consultation process was a complete sham, it is opposed by the established church, it has caused deep and needless divisions within the Conservative party, there is no mandate for it, there are huge potential consequences, not least the prospect of endless legal challenge, and the nation faces much more serious challenges which the government needs to address. I therefore hope and pray that this measure will be rejected, if not in this place, in the other place."

"This is not the jurisdiction of this government, of any European government or any government in the world. This is an ordained constitution of God. In the Garden of Eden it was Adam and Steve. It was Adam and Eve. It wasn't Adam and Steve."

"Children and parenthood barely get mentioned by supporters of the bill despite the fact that this is the prevailing reason for most couples getting married. You could begin to think that marriage was all about the value of adulthood and not the value of parenthood. Of course same sex couples raise children in loving homes and not all marriages involve children. But over the centuries Society and Church have had a united view of the essential purpose of marriage, to provide a stable institution for the care of children. Now the State is trying to divide and rule the meaning of marriage. It is up to Conservatives to vote for freedom from the overeaching hand of the State."

The Tories are awful. Labour are awful. The Lib Dems are awful. Luckily it looks like we're going to get this passed despite their overall shitness.

Superbeast, are you sure it prohibits the Church of England from entering and that that's not an internal church thing?

EDIT:

They voted in favour to allow same sex marraige.

400 votes to 175.

update, the bill passed about 20 minutes ago with a 400 to 175 majority, hell fucking yes!

edit, ninjad by a minute

Firstly, FUCKING YES!

My friends can now get married, sod that "civil partnership" and separate-but-equal crap, I'm going to their wedding!

Secondly, the bigots are already out in force on the Daily Mail website - check out some of the comments there (and how they're being rated as well). Though I should give fair warning: that cesspit may induce suicidal tendencies and uncontrollable rage in rational-minded individuals.

Pluvia:
Superbeast, are you sure it prohibits the Church of England from entering and that that's not an internal church thing?

Very sure - it is a completely random restriction that has caused a lot of trouble both within the church and amongst other faith groups. I'll try to dig up a source for you...

(semi-edit) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18407568

spartandude:
update, the bill passed about 20 minutes ago with a 400 to 175 majority, hell fucking yes!

edit, ninjad by a minute

Yup - and that 175 appears to mostly be Tory MPs:

Former children's minister and Conservative MP Tim Loughton told the BBC that he believed "140 or so" of his party colleagues had voted against the plans, along with "a small rump of Labour MPs" and "four Lib Dem MPs".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21346220

Though I do wonder why on earth the four Lib Dems voted against the bill, particularly as denying gay marriage pretty much goes against the core Liberal/(mildly) Libertarian policies of the party?!

It is also worth noting that at this point it appears that more Tories voted against the bill than for it:

He added: "Apparently there are 132 Conservative MPs who voted in favour, so I think what we're going to see is that more Conservative MPs voted against this legislation than for it."

Does this mean there is trouble to come for David Cameron, given that the majority of his party (including those who abstained) did not vote in favour of a bill that he himself endorsed?

Still, this is great news for the country - though of course there are probably years of actual legal wrangling on the exact wording of the bill and so forth to go yet, the cynic in me guessing the Conservative MPs/Lords will drag this out to hold up true equality for as long as possible.

Imperator_DK:
Well, good.

Not that I'll ever understand why any gay person would wish to associate with Abrahamic religion, after 1700 years of persecution. But when even one person wish it, the state has no business denying it.

You do realise that no religion holds a trademark on the word "marriage", yes? As such, there is only as much overlap between a marriage and an Abrahamic church as the people involved want there to be.

Good stuff, at least some places in the world are moving forwards.

Imperator_DK:
Well, good.

Not that I'll ever understand why any gay person would wish to associate with Abrahamic religion, after 1700 years of persecution. But when even one person wish it, the state has no business denying it.

Marriage and religion have very little in common. Marriage is a government-recognized thing that's useful for tax and insurance purposes, as well as things like hospital visitation rights, adoption, etc. Religion likes to pretend it has a monopoly on it but truthfully, their involvement is purely ceremonial and optional.

Classic quote from Fiona Bruce MP (who voted against)

What of the legal distinction between the public-servant role of the employed registrar, such as Lillian Ladele, in a local registry office and the public function carried out by voluntary registrars appointed by local churches as part of their membership across the country? If those voluntary registrars-those lay people-refuse to officiate at same-sex weddings, will they really be able to defend themselves successfully in discrimination actions in the courts, especially if the case goes to Europe? Without the principle of reasonable accommodation being part of our legislation-as it is in other countries with respect to matters of faith, and as it is in this country with respect to matters of disability-will not the Lillian Ladele precedent return when such cases are sent to Europe?

If Mrs Bruce wants to place religion on the same footing as disability, that's fine by me.

All I can say is I still don't understand why civil partnerships weren't unmarried couples living in the same household and marriage being open to all couples in the first place. Well at last I have won the argument against my tutor at college at who is better conservatives or labour.

I'm absolutely happy about this. I mean, a 225 vote difference is brilliant, shows some real support for equality in the Commons. I admit, I'm a little worried about some of the reasons some MPs (across all the parties) gave for voting against, but that they're in such a minority is good to see. I do have to wonder about the future of the Tories though - a lot of the media is making this out to be a huge schism, and the fact that over half the Tories voted against Cameron is rather telling, but I guess it might all blow over.

I'm also pretty optimistic about getting this past the Lords as well. I reckon it'll go back at least once for revision, but Cameron's got enough time to push it through into law.

Whatever. The point is, this is some good news!

EscapeGoat:
I'm absolutely happy about this. I mean, a 225 vote difference is brilliant, shows some real support for equality in the Commons. I admit, I'm a little worried about some of the reasons some MPs (across all the parties) gave for voting against, but that they're in such a minority is good to see. I do have to wonder about the future of the Tories though - a lot of the media is making this out to be a huge schism, and the fact that over half the Tories voted against Cameron is rather telling, but I guess it might all blow over.

I'm also pretty optimistic about getting this past the Lords as well. I reckon it'll go back at least once for revision, but Cameron's got enough time to push it through into law.

Whatever. The point is, this is some good news!

There is quite a big rift forming in the Tories, its rumored the knives are being sharpened too. One of Camerons biggest supporters, the guy who basically floated Camerons campaign for party leader and his parliament seat has dropped his support.

J Tyran:

There is quite a big rift forming in the Tories, its rumored the knives are being sharpened too. One of Camerons biggest supporters, the guy who basically floated Camerons campaign for party leader and his parliament seat has dropped his support.

Mmm, I saw a couple of reports mentioning the whole lack of support thing, but I didn't realise it was that serious. I have to admit, I'm actually really interested as to where this goes, in a morbid kind of way. I know there's a lot of polemic being thrown about with regards to that, but I don't know if I can see a real rift taking hold and staying.

Then again, I guess the backbenchers have been disgruntled for a while now over the coalition, and now this has only strengthened the party support against Cameron. I really do wonder what will happen.

EscapeGoat:

J Tyran:

There is quite a big rift forming in the Tories, its rumored the knives are being sharpened too. One of Camerons biggest supporters, the guy who basically floated Camerons campaign for party leader and his parliament seat has dropped his support.

Mmm, I saw a couple of reports mentioning the whole lack of support thing, but I didn't realise it was that serious. I have to admit, I'm actually really interested as to where this goes, in a morbid kind of way. I know there's a lot of polemic being thrown about with regards to that, but I don't know if I can see a real rift taking hold and staying.

Then again, I guess the backbenchers have been disgruntled for a while now over the coalition, and now this has only strengthened the party support against Cameron. I really do wonder what will happen.

If the Tories fall to infighting they might end up losing parliament, they have noone really to replace Cameron. Worst case scenario is the coalition collapses and it might force a general election. It reminds me slightly of the fall of Thatcher, I don't think they are strong enough to hold it together this time if the worst happens.

The whips will be working hard to try and remind the party of the possible consequences of continued rebellion.

Labour are not working hard enough to capitalize on this, they need to whip up support fast. The Unions are angry and so are most of the public sector workers, they need to get supporters off their arses and into the polling booths if/when the shit hits the fan.

J Tyran:

EscapeGoat:
I'm absolutely happy about this. I mean, a 225 vote difference is brilliant, shows some real support for equality in the Commons. I admit, I'm a little worried about some of the reasons some MPs (across all the parties) gave for voting against, but that they're in such a minority is good to see. I do have to wonder about the future of the Tories though - a lot of the media is making this out to be a huge schism, and the fact that over half the Tories voted against Cameron is rather telling, but I guess it might all blow over.

I'm also pretty optimistic about getting this past the Lords as well. I reckon it'll go back at least once for revision, but Cameron's got enough time to push it through into law.

Whatever. The point is, this is some good news!

There is quite a big rift forming in the Tories, its rumored the knives are being sharpened too. One of Camerons biggest supporters, the guy who basically floated Camerons campaign for party leader and his parliament seat has dropped his support.

really?

so let me get this straight (ironic). today they pushed forward a bill for same sex marriage, The Witcher 3 was annonced and now there is infighting with in the tories? this is better than christmas

spartandude:

J Tyran:

EscapeGoat:
I'm absolutely happy about this. I mean, a 225 vote difference is brilliant, shows some real support for equality in the Commons. I admit, I'm a little worried about some of the reasons some MPs (across all the parties) gave for voting against, but that they're in such a minority is good to see. I do have to wonder about the future of the Tories though - a lot of the media is making this out to be a huge schism, and the fact that over half the Tories voted against Cameron is rather telling, but I guess it might all blow over.

I'm also pretty optimistic about getting this past the Lords as well. I reckon it'll go back at least once for revision, but Cameron's got enough time to push it through into law.

Whatever. The point is, this is some good news!

There is quite a big rift forming in the Tories, its rumored the knives are being sharpened too. One of Camerons biggest supporters, the guy who basically floated Camerons campaign for party leader and his parliament seat has dropped his support.

really?

so let me get this straight (ironic). today they pushed forward a bill for same sex marriage, The Witcher 3 was annonced and now there is infighting with in the tories? this is better than christmas

I have to agree. Maybe at the next election labour will put forward someone who actually knows what the founding principles of the labour party are so that the country can vote for someone who didn't go to a school that cost more pre year than medium wage.

I would like to post a correction of the figures in my earlier post (made using media estimates). The exact figures are thus known:

Voted Against:

136 Conservatives
22 Labour
4 Liberal Democrats
8 DUP
2 Independants

Voted In Favour:

127 Conservatives
217 Labour
44 Liberal Democrats
8 "Others"

Registered Abstention (not too sure how this differs to otherwise abstaining):

5 Conservatives

If you're a UK poster you can check out which way your MP voted here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21346694

As we can see, the Conservatives really were the meat of the votes against the bill, though the party is almost evenly split on the matter (but a majority did abstain/vote against the sitting Conservative Prime Minister). That could be quite an interesting one, politically speaking. Both the Opposition, the Coalition Partners, and the majority of the minor parties voted in favour of the bill with a nigh-total majority of their members.

Oh, and already the cries that this is the apocalypse (because Jesus is returning, or something), that this is "Orwellian", that it is "anti-Freedom" and the bill was "anti-Democratic" have begun in earnest - though the above breakdown of the figures is incredibly telling as to where the political views of the detractors lie!

++Edit++

There's quite a long way to go before gay marriage can be legalised, as this was only the Second Reading of the bill. As far as I understand it (and I may be wrong) there's still the committee stage (voting), report stage (voting), 3rd Reading (voting) before this gets sent to the Lords - which has the 1st reading (formality), 2nd Reading (voting), committee stage (voting), report stage (voting), 3rd Reading (voting); then there is the vote on any amendments the Lords made to the Commons bill, and then both Houses have to agree (which can ping-pong a bill back and forth for ages), and finally the Royal Approval - which is at least a formality, given the Queen's position as head of the C of E.

What is to stop all the politicians who voted in favour of the bill this time around from changing their minds down the line when there is less media focus? Will further votes be "free votes" or will the Whips be involved? Will Cameron be forced to change his own position (and perhaps the party as a whole if the Whips are used) as only a minority of his party voted for this bill? Will it even get through the Lords given the number of Tory peers and Bishops in that House - and if it were to get dropped, would the Commons use the Parliament Act to force the bill through regardless?

That's quite a lot of votes and "what-if" scenarios to get through yet - but I am ecstatic that we are finally getting equal treatment for gay people in my country.

Superbeast, I doubt this will get less media attention. There are a lot of what-if's but it will most likely go through.

Scotland is getting it anyway, so I doubt England and Wales will want to be seen as being more backwards than us.

J Tyran:
If the Tories fall to infighting they might end up losing parliament, they have noone really to replace Cameron. Worst case scenario is the coalition collapses and it might force a general election. It reminds me slightly of the fall of Thatcher, I don't think they are strong enough to hold it together this time if the worst happens.

The whips will be working hard to try and remind the party of the possible consequences of continued rebellion.

Labour are not working hard enough to capitalize on this, they need to whip up support fast. The Unions are angry and so are most of the public sector workers, they need to get supporters off their arses and into the polling booths if/when the shit hits the fan.

Alternatively it can just fold strongly towards progressive policies. Sometimes ideological battles like this end with a party taking a radical new direction, and the momentum they gain then can't be underestimated.

The Dutch VVD party went through a similar ideological crisis in 2006-2007 with fights for leadership and open rebellion between conservatives and progressives. But one single affair destroyed the main person of the conservative side (Rita Verdonk), and the faction collapsed. The VVD party began sailing a new progressive course, and promptly became the largest party in the next election. While a few years before analysts were predicting their end because the ideological differences were too big.

It will really depend on how the dissenting tories react and how that's perceived by their voters. If their voters abandon them and go with the new course, the tories as a whole could actually profit from this.

Unfortunately it's ussually something which defies predictions as it's about individual people's reactions to this. Anything's possible, even hordes of formerly strong conservative voters thinking "guess it's time for the UK to change socially" and suddenly the furthest conservative flank in the voting spectrum is gone.

AdMech:
I have to agree. Maybe at the next election labour will put forward someone who actually knows what the founding principles of the labour party are so that the country can vote for someone who didn't go to a school that cost more pre year than medium wage.

Ed Miliband went to State schools not public school or private schools, he went to a state primary school and state comprehensive. It was only after he passed his O Levels did his education became a bit more privileged, while he studied his A Levels he worked as an intern for Tony Ben. Not many people would get a chance like that. He is not as dynamic as his brother but when you read about his career and how much effort he put into studying and then teaching economics you have to kind of respect the guy. He just needs to grab the public image somehow.

Blablahb:

J Tyran:
If the Tories fall to infighting they might end up losing parliament, they have noone really to replace Cameron. Worst case scenario is the coalition collapses and it might force a general election. It reminds me slightly of the fall of Thatcher, I don't think they are strong enough to hold it together this time if the worst happens.

The whips will be working hard to try and remind the party of the possible consequences of continued rebellion.

Labour are not working hard enough to capitalize on this, they need to whip up support fast. The Unions are angry and so are most of the public sector workers, they need to get supporters off their arses and into the polling booths if/when the shit hits the fan.

Alternatively it can just fold strongly towards progressive policies. Sometimes ideological battles like this end with a party taking a radical new direction, and the momentum they gain then can't be underestimated.

The Dutch VVD party went through a similar ideological crisis in 2006-2007 with fights for leadership and open rebellion between conservatives and progressives. But one single affair destroyed the main person of the conservative side (Rita Verdonk), and the faction collapsed. The VVD party began sailing a new progressive course, and promptly became the largest party in the next election. While a few years before analysts were predicting their end because the ideological differences were too big.

It will really depend on how the dissenting tories react and how that's perceived by their voters. If their voters abandon them and go with the new course, the tories as a whole could actually profit from this.

Unfortunately it's ussually something which defies predictions as it's about individual people's reactions to this. Anything's possible, even hordes of formerly strong conservative voters thinking "guess it's time for the UK to change socially" and suddenly the furthest conservative flank in the voting spectrum is gone.

Thats an interesting Link, thanks. I could never say the Tories wouldn't evolve into something like that, as you say these things can whip up out of nowhere. I think if they did they would stay as two parties with a slightly different view of Conservatism, there is no real surge to change into something more progressive. Most of the problems are related to the EU and now this new vote. That might happen to the Liberal Democrats if they get to much of a kicking in the polls, many Lib Dems are very dissatisfied with the way things have turned out.

At the end of the day screw the politics, this is a great day for equality and I am happy for anyone who wishes to get married when the new legislation passes.

at the end of the day "social issues" in Britain do not hold the same decisive party political cache as they do in the US.

"gay marriage" and "abortion" or any other such issue are pretty much guaranteed to be put to a "free vote" if it comes up for debate or to put it another way they are not issues held politically by parties as part of their political position and as such they are highly unlikely to change the shape of a party because they are not officially part of a partys "shape" in the first place...

here's a good article from the other day that touches on this in perhaps a more eloquent way: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/equal-marriage-the-political-impact-of-this-social-revolution-wont-last-8480631.html

Superbeast:
Firstly, FUCKING YES!

My friends can now get married, sod that "civil partnership" and separate-but-equal crap, I'm going to their wedding!

Not yet. As I understand it, things can still go wrong.

It's a big step, and fingers crossed, of course, but it's not quite there yet.

One thing I don't understand, reading some Dailymail comments (really shouldn't have listened to whoevers advice that was here), is some people saying they're not voting Tory anymore. Well, who are they going to vote for then? It's obviously not going to be the other two Left wing parties who voted in favour of this so who would it be?

Sounds like people don't really think their comments through.

Pluvia:
One thing I don't understand, reading some Dailymail comments (really shouldn't have listened to whoevers advice that was here), is some people saying they're not voting Tory anymore. Well, who are they going to vote for then? It's obviously not going to be the other two Left wing parties who voted in favour of this so who would it be?

Sounds like people don't really think their comments through.

Well they'd vote UKIP i presume. Which in my views a good thing because it splits the right-wing vote between two parties and it will make it harder for the Conservatives to win seats in the next elections.

I'm a bad LGBT supporting liberal Brit... I didn't even know this was happening until I saw my friends start nattering about it on Facebook! Good result, though, like people have said in this thread it's about frickin' time, really.

Pluvia:
One thing I don't understand, reading some Dailymail comments (really shouldn't have listened to whoevers advice that was here), is some people saying they're not voting Tory anymore. Well, who are they going to vote for then? It's obviously not going to be the other two Left wing parties who voted in favour of this so who would it be?

Sounds like people don't really think their comments through.

Well, hey, we've got more right wing parties to vote for here in the UK.

Oh God, the thought that Tory voters might en masse start voting for UKIP is... kind of terrifying. :/ EDIT: Although Nickolai77's point about it splitting the votes up so that neither right wing party has a majority vote might indeed be a good thing... also, throw the BNP in the mix and they're scraped even further.

UKIP have even less chance of getting in power than the Lib Dems. I assume those that voted for the Tories know this, and I assume those people also wont want Labour getting in power, which is what would happen if they split the Tory vote.

Pluvia:
UKIP have even less chance of getting in power than the Lib Dems. I assume those that voted for the Tories know this, and I assume those people also wont want Labour getting in power, which is what would happen if they split the Tory vote.

I'll bet they're wishing that the AV referendum had gone through now!

Although (at the risk of sounding kind of arrogant...) I'm not sure that a lot of Daily Mail readers or people who would genuinely vote for UKIP are really assessing the consequences of their actions enough to realise that voting for UKIP is just more likely to make Labour get into power...

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