On Monday and Wednesday of this coming week, legislation to allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales will go back before the House of Lords for consideration in what is called the Report stage. The next step is the bill’s Third Reading, scheduled for July 15. Assuming passage, it returns to the House of Commons, which may modify the version it has already passed. It will go back and forth between the chambers until there is uniform language. Parliament is set to recess in mid-July.
According to the LobbyALord website, there are 156 committed yes votes, 57 no votes, and 551 unknowns. (The House of Commons has 650 members.) What a lobbying nightmare. Our Congress members may be thoroughly dysfunctional, but at least there are fewer of them.
From Pink News:
[On Monday and Wednesday,] further amendments will be introduced, some of which will aim to derail or wreck the bill’s progress.
Included in the 136 amendments already put forward is one by Lord Dear, who has already attempted to wreck the bill in two previous amendments, which could effectively make the bill defunct by separating straight and gay couples’ marriages in definition, in order to protect those holding a “traditional view” of marriage.
A second amendment by Lord Dear would mean the bill would strengthen the right of teachers to express personal beliefs around equal marriage.
Another amendment, put forward by Baroness Deech would allow cohabiting family members and carers to receive the tax benefits of civil partnership.
Lord Singh of Wimbledon has also tabled an amendment to the bill calling for a referendum on the issue of same-sex marriage, which would mean that even if passes at all stages, the law would not come into effect until voters approved it in a referendum. It is unclear whether voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland would be able to vote, [since] the bill only affects people in England and Wales…
After it completes the Report stage, the bill will go through its Third Reading on 15 July. If passed in its Third Reading, the bill will be different to that which passed in the House of Commons, so will return there to for approval.
If the House of Commons makes changes, the bill returns to the House of Lords, and can go back and forth until both are agreed. This process is known as parliamentary ping pong, and is scheduled for 16 and 17 July, when Parliament goes into recess. If the process is not agreed by then, the bill cannot be debated again until late into 2013.
Once eventually passed in both Houses, the bill will be given Royal Assent, before becoming law; however it is unlikely that Royal Assent will be given until after summer recess.