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Updated: Marriage equality legislation introduced in UK House of Commons

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

Updated at noon Eastern to reflect correction in debate date based on BBC article

Maria Miller, the culture secretary for UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative government, has officially introduced a marriage equality bill for England and Wales in the House of Commons, PinkNews reports.  A debate between members of parliament (MPs) will be held on February 5, according to Andrew Lansley, the leader of the Commons, the BBC reported.  From PinkNews:

“The Equality Act 2010 is to be amended to ensure that no discrimination claim could be brought against religious organisations or an individual minister for refusing to marry gay couples (or allowing their premises to be used for this purpose).

“The bill will explicitly state that it would be illegal for the Church of England and the Church in Wales to marry gay couples, or to opt-in to do so.

“Canon law – which bans the marriage of same-sex couples – will continue to apply; meaning it would require a change in both primary and Canon law before the Church of England and the Church in Wales would be able to provide marriages for gay couples.”

While many Conservative MPs may vote against the legislation, Cameron’s bill looks likely to pass with support from a majority comprised of Labour and Liberal Democrat legislators.  The legislation would then be considered by a committee before returning to the House of Commons for a final reading, after which it would move to the House of Lords.

Closer to home, we noted here in a Quick Hit yesterday that the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a civil unions bill on a party-line 3-2 vote.  The bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it is expected to pass.

Finally, the Rhode Island House of Representatives is expected to vote on a marriage equality bill (HB5015) today after the legislation was passed out of committee unanimously on Tuesday.  A vote is scheduled for this evening after the House convenes at 4:00 p.m., and the legislation is expected to pass, although its prospects in the state Senate appear less certain.

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