The United Kingdom has published the dates for the next stage towards legalizing marriage equality in England and Wales. The country’s House of Commons (lower house) will debate its equal marriage bill on May 20 and 21 to consider proposed amendments.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill already passed the Commons in February by a 225-vote majority. Should the bill be approved on May 21 as anticipated, when members of Parliament review its contents, the House of Lords (upper house) will get final scrutiny.
Support for equal marriage legislation is believed to be less certain in the Lords. Lord Geoffrey Dear, a prominent member of the chamber, advised last month that there was already “considerable opposition in the Lords” which could potentially derail the legislation. Lord Dear predicted there would be a “very close vote” on the Marriage Bill.
“I am very concerned about the lack of process for legislation which is as cataclysmic and knee-jerk as this,” Lord Dear told 429Magazine.
“To pretend the word [marriage]is the same for something with fundamental biological or physiological differences is muddling up sameness and equality,” he added.
However, Prime Minister David Cameron has emphasized his support for marriage equality describing it is “an important step forward” and saying it will “make our society stronger.”
Since 2005, the UK has formalized same-sex relationships through civil partnerships. Couples are afforded rights and responsibilities very similar to civil marriage, but without the name.