UK Marriage Equality Legislation Threatened in Parliament

David Cameron's marriage equality legislation faces a challenging series of votes in parliament today, the Guardian reports, the primary one coming from an amendment by Tory opponents to grant civil partnerships to heterosexual couples:

CameronMaria Miller, the equalities minister, has warned that the entire gay marriage bill will be at risk of collapse if Tory opponents join forces with Labour MPs to vote in favour of granting civil partnerships to heterosexual couples.

In the strongest indication yet that Downing Street will shelve the bill if "fundamental" changes are made, Miller warned that opponents were in danger of giving the government a "headache".

The Guardian adds:

The government warned of three dangers to the bill if an amendment to grant civil partnerships to heterosexual couples is passed. It is being tabled by the former children's minister Tim Loughton who opposes gay marriage. A government source said the Loughton amendment would:

• Come with a price tag of £4bn. Steve Webb, the pensions minister, told parliament's joint committee on human rights last week that the state would be liable for new "survivors'" pension rights.

• Delay the introduction of the entire bill by 18 to 24 months because the government would need to work on the joint implementation of new rights for gay married couples and heterosexual couples in new civil partnerships.

• Complicate the government's argument that the changes are about strengthening the institution of marriage by opening it to all couples. "If you open up civil partnerships to opposite sex couples then the institution of marriage will be weakened," one

Pink News adds:

A Downing Street source told that, if an amendment put forward by Tim Loughton, which would extend civil partnerships to heterosexual couples, were to pass, the Government may pull its support for the Marriage (Same Sex couples) Bill.

The source said no option could be ruled out over the bill, until after the vote on the amendment.


  1. Max says

    They are wrecking amendments. Every Labour and Liberal Democrat MP that votes for them is a fool. It could cause the nervous Government to pull or hugely delay the bill. Please just abolish civil unions entirely.

  2. Pete N SFO says

    I love it when people use the rationale that it will be expensive to stop treating people unequally, in other words, to give up their hetero-only, gay-subsidized, accidental freebie.

    Gimme a break!

  3. Jere says

    With the advent of marriage equality, what is the point or the need for civil unions? In the UK, a civil partnership is the exact same thing as a marriage in everything but name. You only need both if you are striving to differentiate between gay people and straight people. If the idea is to NOT do that, then civil partnerships should fade into the dustbin of history.

  4. Henry says

    It’s important to note that not all conservative MPs want to de-rail equal marriage. I’m hoping it goes through smoothly – the House of Lords will put up a much bigger fight, luckily the Parliament Act can be invoked to overrule them.

  5. BRAINS says

    “Dave”, will be remembered long after this sorrowful event by his backbenchers, as a man who stood up for his principles: principles of fairness and equality for all!

    Good job, Prime Minister Cameron. Soon to be Lord Cameron!

  6. JONES says

    This is the same amendment approach used by opposition to marriage equality in Minnesota. Turn all marriages into civil unions and leave the word ‘marriage’ for a union done with religious sanctions.

    Marriage is the civil contract. The blessing in your house of worship is a ceremony amongst like minded and has nothing to do with civil equality.

    The same debasing arguments. How much it will cost and ‘it’s not the time’.

    Understand that you’re not ‘granting’ rights. You’re recognizing rights. Basic human rights.

  7. Rexford says

    Once again, a case where they express worry about the government’s financial liability, but they have no problem with gay folks continuing to pay into a system where they can’t get anything out of it.


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