Peer to table motion opposing second reading of Same Sex Marriage Bill

May 17, 2013

Crossbench Peer, Lord Dear, has today declared his decision to table a motion opposing the Second Reading of the Government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill on Monday 3 June.

In a letter to fellow members of the House of Lords, Lord Dear, explained his decision to table the motion: “We have before us a Bill which affects issues of the profoundest importance and yet which the Government is seeking to force through in the most undemocratic and shameful way.

“The Bill redefines marriage, a principal institution of society, for everyone; causing great concern about the future consequences for the family, civil liberty and for Church and State. Such a proposal should surely only be brought forward after prolonged deliberation and having allayed such major concerns in advance.

“Yet despite the widespread and deeply-felt opposition in the country, the Government is using its raw power to press ahead as fast as possible. The political parties have no mandate from the public to bring it forward: the redefinition of marriage was not included in any party manifesto. The official consultation process massaged the results to downplay opposition and has been widely dismissed as a sham. The House of Commons process has been marked by guillotined debates and undue pressure from party hierarchies on individual MPs.

“In my view, the House reserves this power for these circumstances: when the executive is clearly acting with no democratic mandate and without regard to the proper constitutional processes.”

Lord Dear signalled his opposition to the Bill in the Lords recently when he spoke about the lack of proper scrutiny and democratic legitimacy. He pointed to the lack of public support for the Bill and expressed concern that the move could be counter-productive and damage social cohesion.