The United Kingdom’s House of Lords has voted to endorse the country’s proposed marriage equality legislation. The UK’s lower house, the House of Commons, already approved the bill in a 366-161 vote in May.
The Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill was debated over two days in the Lords. An amendment to effectively “kill” the legislation was put forward by the independent Lord Geoffrey Dear, who argued that the legislation would “completely alter the concept of marriage as we know it.” It was defeated in a 390-148 vote.
“The process has been so fatally flawed that it should be sent back to the drawing board,” Dear told the House.
The bill will now pass through the Committee Stage in the House of Lords, where amendments will be considered. This is scheduled for June 17 and 19.
Lord Dear had planned to derail the marriage equality plans for several months. In April he told 429Magazine the proposal was “cataclysmic and knee-jerk” and that instituting equal marriage would in fact “put gay rights back several decades.”
“To pretend the word [marriage]is exactly the same for something with fundamental biological or physiological differences is muddling up sameness and equality,” said Lord Dear.
“I do not believe there has been proper consideration of the unforeseen consequences, including major damage to the position of homosexual couples by focusing on an issue which isn’t supported.”
However, an opinion poll in May found that a clear majority of the UK public were in support of marriage equality. 54 percent approve of the issue with 36 percent against.
Prime Minister David Cameron has underlined his support for equal marriage, describing it as an “important step forward” and saying it will “make our society stronger.”
Since 2005, the UK has formalized same-sex relationships through legally recognized civil partnerships. Couples are accorded rights and responsibilities similar to marriage, but without the name.