Today the British House of Commons gave for a second time its overwhelming approval to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, voting 366 to 161 at the bill’s third reading. In February, the same body overwhelmingly approved the bill by a vote of 400 to 175 at its second reading.
The bill, which would legalize marriage for same-sex couples in England and Wales, now moves to the House of Lords.
MPs debated several amendments both yesterday and today prior to the third reading vote. The amendment receiving perhaps the most extensive debate today would have allowed Humanist groups to perform same-sex marriages (New Clause 15). The amendment was withdrawn after the Secretary of State voiced technical concerns. Amendment sponsors appeared committed to reintroducing into the House of Lords an updated version of the amendment which would address the concerns raised today.
Notably, today’s vote comes almost 25 years to the day after Parliament passed the shameful Section 28, which stated that “a local authority shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. Section 28 was not repealed until 2000 in Scotland and 2003 in England and Wales.
Bill progress can be followed here.