On 5th February 2013, MPs voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill by 400 to 175, a majority of 225. In now moves towards the House of Lords where it will meet strong opposition. However in all likelihood, the UK will have same-sex marriage in place at some point over the next few years.
This blog has already posted about the same-sex marriage <see here> and in particular the Catholic Church's view on it.
There will be much discourse, including celebration and outrage over the next few days. Here I will aim to collect some of the possible implications:
- Michael Gove has expressed fears that the Government will be powerless to prevent primary school teachers from being sacked, if they refuse to teach children about gay marriage. <link>
- This will ultimately be an EU decision, and despite ministers claiming that "Teachers are able to, and entitled to, express their views about same-sex marriage and there’s no requirement at all for them to promote it but, obviously, we wouldn’t expect teachers to be offensive or discriminate in any way about anybody.". This confusion is not helpful, and the Government need to set out clear guidelines as to what is appropriate and what is not, with provision made for teachers conscience.
- Bishop Egan suggested that the legalisation of same-sex marriage "would in time have catastrophic consequences" for marriage and family life and could lead to the Catholic Church being forced to withdraw from the civil registration of marriages. <link>
- The result in this being, that to get married in a Catholic Church will purely be a sacramental procedure. To be legally wed, a couple will also need to visit a registry office.