Second Batch of Lord's Ammendments to Equal Marriage
The amendments to the Marriage (Same-sex couples) Bill are starting to roll in for the Lords to consider. I think it is important that we know what is being proposed (not just in this bill, but in all legislation) so when we come to watch the next debates (17th June) and they refer to amendments we know what they are doing. To that end I am going to try and document them on here (I can't be bothered setting up another site for it, but if anyone fancies helping me to do something for the Communications Data Bill when that formally rears it's ugly head again... or censorship or any of my other interests, let me know).
First up, Lord Hylton gives us a very incomplete amendment which in the very first clause (and nowhere else) changes 'Marriage' to 'Union'. This would leave clause 1(1) looking like:
Union of same sex couples is lawful
Everywhere else would still say "marriage". Odd amendment which is probably going to become more substantive later.
Next up, Baroness Cumberlege offers up an amendment which makes no sense (it deletes two lines which form the middle of a sentence) and protection for "Conscientious objection". A more focused clause than Lord Dear's, in that it only applies to registrars and allows them to, if they "sincerely hold a religious or other belief" against same-sex marriage would allow them to opt-out. The same arguments apply here as I have discussed elsewhere. Registrars are providing a service to the public. Same-sex couples are a part of that public. End of discussion.
Finally, Lord Trefgarne with an amendment to open up same-sex marriage to marriages at sea. As far as I can tell, although the government has looked into opening up British registered ships to host and their "masters" to solmenize marriages, the legislation has not yet been brought forward. This amendment only applies to Same-sex couples so could be an attempt to force the other issue rather than expected to get into this bill.