Following the December announcement of the timetable for implementing the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, the Government has today laid before Parliament a series of Statutory Instruments which (subject to the approval of Parliament) will:
- Enable same sex couples to marry in civil and religious ceremonies from 29 March 2014
- Allow marriages of same sex couples in in some British consulates and armed forces bases overseas, and make arrangements for marriages of same sex couples in military chapels, from 3 June 2014.
Civil Partnership Review
The Government has today published a consultation paper on the future of civil partnership in England and Wales. This is the full public consultation required as part of the review of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. The consultation runs until 17 April 2014.
Equal marriage: Government sets the date for first ceremonies
The Government in Westminster has announced the timetable for the implementation of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act in England and Wales.
Same-sex couples will now be able to get married in a registry or approved religious premises from 29 March 2014.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 was given Royal Assent on 17 July 2013, which means that “marriage of same sex couples is lawful”. Except that, currently, there’s no mechanism to “solemnise” them. In order for an Act of Parliament to take effect, it’s not sufficient for it to be passed and granted Royal Assent. It must be enabled, and this is done by a series of Statutory Instruments.
There are a number of areas which affect transgender people that should be of concern. Please read the article available via the link and make your views known to your Member of Parliament.
News from the Government Equalities Office, 17 July 2013
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has successfully completed its parliamentary passage and today received Royal Assent.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 will, for the first time, allow same sex couples to marry in England and Wales in a civil ceremony. It will also allow them to marry in a religious ceremony, where the religious organisation has opted in to such marriages and the minister of religion agrees.
The new legislation also reiterates the Government’s absolute commitment to religious freedom by ensuring that no religious organisation or individual minister can be forced to conduct same sex marriages.
It is noted that the Act now also includes requirement for the Secretary of State to arrange for a review of occupational pension scheme benefits provided to survivors of same sex and opposite sex couples in legal relationships, It is hoped that this review will take account of the circumstances of transgender people who were forced by law to dissolve their marriages before the present legislation was passed.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has successfully completed its Committee stage in the House of Lords. The next stage in the parliamentary process is Lords Report stage, when Peers have a further opportunity to debate the Bill in the main chamber of the House of Lords. The report stage is scheduled to take place on:
Monday 8 and Wednesday 10 July.
Over three days of Committee, Peers vigorously debated the detailed provisions of the Bill, giving it clause by clause scrutiny. 65 non-Government amendments were tabled, none of which were voted on so they did not result in changes to the Bill.
Government amendments were made to the Bill to clarify that public discussion or criticism of marriage, as regards the sex of the parties to marriage, would not of itself amount to an offence of stirring up hatred because of sexual orientation under the Public Order Act 1986 and also to amend the definition of the governing authorities able to give consent to same sex marriages for those of the Jewish religion, to reflect the current arrangements for the Jewish community. A number of technical amendments were also made, intended to make the Bill work better without changing its effect.
More information [DCMS website].
Bill and timetable information [Parliament website].
Prayer in support of the Bill.
Many Anglicans, gay and straight, catholic, middle of the road and evangelical, support equal marriage. Changing Attitude England has joined the members of the Coalition to offer prayerful support for the House of Lords as they prepare to debate the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill on Monday 3 June. This is a decisive moment for the Bill. A wrecking amendment has been tabled which could threaten its future progress.
We ask you to pray in love. Prayer does not change the mind of God. Offered in love, prayer has the power to change the future and to change us. Prayer offered in openness and trust can channel the infinite, tender love of God which is shared with every person irrespective of their gender, sexuality, race, whether they are people of faith or not.
Prayer on Equal Marriage [Changing Attitude Website].
For immediate use: press statement on: “Men and Women in Marriage”, a document from the Church of England Faith and Order Commission.
The Coalition wishes to register its dismay at men “Men and Women in Marriage”, the recently published report from the Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England. Ostensibly an affirmation of what the Church of England believes about marriage, it appears, to us, to be merely an attempt to justify the Church of England’s recent submission to the government opposing same sex civil marriage. It also makes specific and derogatory references to same-sex relationships…
Press Release [PDF].
A meeting between the Coalition and Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, has been arranged for the 18 April 2013. Major points which the Coalition wishes to put to the Archbishop are as follows:
How does the Archbishop intend to get a better understanding and appreciation of the frustration LGBT Christians are experiencing in the Church of England and what plans does he have to address this? How aware is the Archbishop that some parishes are inhospitable places for LGB&T people? Will he take a lead in helping to make it a safer place for them? If so, how and when does he propose to do this? How much experience does the Archbishop have of transgender people, and what are his thoughts and plans for greater transgender inclusion in the Church of England. What are the Archbishop’s views on the Church of England permitting churches to offer prayer and dedication (or prayer and thanksgiving) for couples who have had a civil partnership (or civil marriage) ceremony? What are the Archbishop’s views on liturgies of blessing for same sex couples? What protection can clergy who are in Civil Partnerships expect from diocesan bishops who are openly hostile to such couples and are perceived as deeply homophobic? What opportunities might there be for the care of LGB&T ordinands at theological colleges? The Archbishop’s views on the need for greater education on LGB&T issues within the Church of England. The Archbishop’s views on the House of Bishops reports on Civil Partnerships and Human Sexuality.
Proposed agenda [PDF].
Memorandum to the committee stage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2013
The LGB&T Anglican Coalition is a coalition of all the groups working to encourage the Church of England to be more inclusive of LGB&T people. A clear majority of our organisations strongly support the proposed legislation, in particular we welcome the provision that religious bodies are allowed to opt in voluntarily; no religious body or individual is compelled to act against conscience; married transgender people who apply for full gender recognition will no longer have to dissolve their marriages. We have highlighted several specific issues, including matters that will need to be addressed when the Church of England considers whether or not to opt in, and in relation to religious employment.
Parliamentary scrutiny: have your say on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
Please submit your views in writing to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee which is going to consider the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
The Public Bill Committee of the House of Commons is now able to receive written evidence from external sources. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration.
The Committee is expected to meet for the first time on Tuesday 12 February. The Committee will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the Committee stage on Tuesday 12 March 2013.
Make your submission [PDF].