Friday, January 25, 2013

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill published


The Government has today published its same-sex marriage bill, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2012-13.

The Bill will:
  • enable same-sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies
  • ensure those religious organisations that wish to do so can opt in to conduct marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples
  • protect those religious organisations that do not wish to marry same-sex couples from successful legal challenge

The Bill will also enable civil partners to convert their partnership to a marriage (section 9).

A couple of things I've noted:
  • Firstly, the nomenclature issue has been dealt with by the terms "husband" including a man who is married to another man and "wife" including a woman who is married to another woman (see Schedule 3, paragraph 5(2)).
  •  
  • Secondly, the 'adultery' issue has been dealt with by adding an extra sub-paragraph to section 1 of the MCA that reads: "Only conduct between the respondent and a person of the opposite sex may constitute adultery for the purposes of this section" (Schedule 4, paragraph 3).

There is a news story about the Bill on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport website here, you can follow the progress of the Bill on the Parliament website here and you can read the draft Bill here.

16 comments:

  1. Why have registrars now in post not been allowed to opt out? Does DCMS want another Ladele case?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ladele lost, so I'm not sure there would be another case.

      Delete
  2. I meant another dismissal - not another case.

    Ladele might yet be reversed in the Full Court and I hope so.

    No need to treat anybody else as Islington treated her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ladele has failed at the European Court - there is nowhere else for her to go.

      Delete
  3. That was a Chamber judgment - she could apply for a hearing by the Full Court, the application could succeed, she could be successful there.

    Would it hurt to allow existing Registrars to say no? It is likely that some districts will do so. For my own part I would not want to be married by a Registrar who thought my spouse and I were a pair of sinners, however polite and professional s/he was. I would rather s/he married someother couple while someone else - someone more broad-minded if you like - married us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you mean the Grand Chamber.

      I'm not qualified to comment on the legal aspects of the Ladele case, but I'm glad that she can't pick and choose what parts of her job she does just because of what some imaginary sky-god tells her.

      Delete
  4. Yes, the Grand Chamber, thank you.

    The point is that it was not her job to do c.p. (let alone same-sex marriages) when she took the job and she would not have taken it if it had been. Other districts coped by giving people in her position slightly more weddings to do and giving c.p. work to those who had no conscientious objection - a pragmatic arrangement satisfactory to all the registrars and to their "customers" and Islington could and should have done the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No one can expect their job to remain the same forever. She just didn't like the fact that her bigoted views had become out-dated.

      Delete
  5. So what do you think of those districts who accommodated Registrars in her position? Were they wrong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe everyone should have to do the same job. Obviously, it would not have been an option to 'accommodate' if all registrars in a district objected!

      OK, I think this discussion has gone far enough. If you don't like the draft Bill, perhaps you should raise the matter with your MP.

      Delete
  6. I welcome this bill both on equality and human rights grounds and for its potential to flush out deluded god botherers from public office.

    It will also place that most repugnant of "should never have survived the 19th, let alone the 20th century" institutions, the faith school, in an almost impossible dilemna and hopefully hasten their demise along with the institutions behind them.

    I do wonder why we can't simply redefine the common law definitions of adultery and consummation which date from the time that homosexuality was illegal. But then, I thought they should just have repealed s11(c) MCA 1973 rather than introducing the CPA 2004.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "...and for its potential to flush out deluded god botherers from public office" - excellent!

      As to faith schools, we can only hope!

      And as to adultery, why no go the whole hog and go no fault, as some are suggesting?

      Delete
  7. John,

    I'm in favour of it. Wasn't "no fault" divorce recommended by the Law Commission to be part of the FLA 1996? Might have even been included in the Act?

    As I understand, it never came to be because of "moral" opposition, largely from that ubiquitous enemy of progress and human decency, the religious, who always need someone to blame- a "sinner."

    Most divorces (about 90%, I think?) are undefended nowadays anyway and I can't for the life of me see why some have to go through the mudslinging exercise of establishing "Adultery and intolerability" or the "Respondent's behaviour" to draw a line under the lousy choice they made.

    I suspect the overwhelming majority of judges want the law to move on as well; with the possible exception of the "Ostrich alliance," aka the Marriage Foundation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the FLA was intended to bring in no fault divorce, but it was a mess even before the objectors got their hands on it. I remember going to a seminar on it during which the speaker said even he didn't understand parts of it! Hopefully, next time they will make a better job of it.

      Delete
  8. Weren't there a couple of pilot schemes involving compulsory mediation that turned out to be a disaster?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There could have been, but I don't remember - a long time ago!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment on this post. Constructive comments are always welcome, even if they do not coincide with my views! Please note, however, that comments will be removed or not published if I consider that:
* They are not relevant to the subject of this post; or
* They are (or are possibly) defamatory; or
* They breach court reporting rules; or
* They contain derogatory, abusive or threatening language; or
* They contain 'spam' advertisements (including links to any commercial websites).
Please also note that I am unable to give advice.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.