Wednesday, July 17, 2013

British House of Commons Gives Final Approval To Same-Sex Marriage; Authorizes Study of Humanist Ceremonies

In Britain yesterday, the House of Commons approved the House of Lords amendments to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill (full text of bill), sending the bill to the Queen for Royal Assent-- a formality in Britain. Here is the full text of the debate in the House of Commons on the Lords' Amendments. Section 2 of the bill provides broad religious protections, assuring that no one may be compelled to participate in any way in conducting or authorizing a same-sex marriage.

On a separate issue, Section 14 of the bill provides for the Secretary of State to review whether humanist marriage ceremonies should be authorized in England and Wales (as they already are in Scotland). The debate in Commons includes the following as part of an exchange on the amendments relating to humanist ceremonies:
Does [a fellow-MP] agree that there are important protections in the amendments made in the other place to prevent the possibility of crazy things such as Jedi weddings? This is about humanist weddings, which are very specific. It is not about commercial weddings, Jedi weddings or any of the other scaremongering that we have heard.
(See prior related posting.)

UPDATE: July 17 Canadian Press reports that the Queen has given formal royal assent to the bill.