British Government Publishes Landmark Bill to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage, with First Vote in Early February

British Culture Secretary Maria Miller has published landmark legislation that would bring marriage equality to England and Wales, the BBC reports:

MillerMore than 100 Tory MPs are thought to be against the idea, but the bill is likely to pass through the Commons with the support of Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs.

Same-sex couples have been able to enter into civil partnerships since 2005, entitling them to the same legal rights as married couples across a range of matters, such as inheritance, pensions provision, life assurance, child maintenance, next of kin and immigration rights.

The new law, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, will enable same-sex couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies – where a religious institution has formally consented. It will also allow couples who have previously entered into civil partnerships to convert their relationship into a marriage.

Mrs Miller said the government recognised that "some churches won't want to participate in same-sex marriages". "We are trying to make sure that there are the protections there for churches who feel that this isn't appropriate for their particular beliefs," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

However, the government also wanted any religious institution that did want to carry out same-sex marriages to be able to do so, she said.

You can read the legislation HERE. The first debate and vote are scheduled for February 5 and the bill has the support of conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.


  1. CD in DC says

    hope they’re able to carry through with plans to amend the bill to take out the sorry Church of England exclusion, as even the minister herself allowed as how if the church wanted to, they could marry gays. Note to tories, if you’re going to give people rights, then no half measures.

  2. JohnAGJ says

    @CDinDC As I understand it this measure was in response to objections by CoE. It effectively neutered their arguments against SSM.

  3. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    Apparently, in the fine-print the grounds of adultery for divorce in SSM requires the “other party” to be of the opposite gender….Bwahhahhahahahah!

    Yay! Sluttiness is legal……

  4. alexoloughlin says

    Goodness, in response to your question, there are three readings before a bill becomes law. The first reading has taken place already and a vote takes place on February 5, after which there is a period of time to make any amendments (2nd reading) then heads to the House of Lords for the third and final reading, usually to make improvements if any.

    CD in DC, the Anglican church demanded protections and guarantees that it would not be forced to participate in same-sex marriages. The government responded with a quadruple lock which means if they want it reversed, they’ll have to come to an agreement under the Canon Law and Synod then petition an amendment to the marriage law giving them permission to marry gay couples at which point they can opt in. All other denominations have an opt-in right regardless and somer are, ergo, the Unitarians, Quakers, Liberal and Reformed Judaism thus far. More will follow.

  5. Diogenes Arktos says

    One issue for the CofE and religious same-sex marriage is an attempt to maintain the unity of the Anglican Communion. Said organization attempts to keep both provinces like the US (which allows a religious blessing of same-sex unions – but not religious same-sex marriage) and provinces like Uganda (which supports the Kill-the-gays Bill).