Legislators in Britain and France made significant gains towards legalizing marriage equality this week, passing parliamentary tests that nearly ensure full victory later this year.
The British House of Commons concluded six hours of intense debate by approving a marriage equality bill’s second reading in a 400-175 vote. The bill now enters committee for review and amendments before the House of Commons will likely approve it in a third reading and send it to the House of Lords for their vote, where it is expected to pass later this year.
The New York Times reports on the debate in Parliament, noting the lackluster efforts of an opposition who knows they are defeated:
“By comparison [to the debate in France], the debate in the House of Commons was mostly understated, with a strong undercurrent of realism among lawmakers who oppose gay marriage but sensed that the battle was already lost, not only in the crushing parliamentary majority favoring change but in a wide variety of opinion polls that have shown strong public support.”
However, given recent efforts by the Catholic bishops in England reported by Bondings 2.0 (view links below), it seems likely that anti-equality opposition will continue trying to defeat the legislation.
Across the English Channel, the French National Assembly, in a 249-97 vote, passed a vital article that defines marriage as a contract between two individuals without reference to their gender. The margin of victory is a positive sign that a law will be fully passed by mid-2013, even as assembly members continued debate over adoption rights and other amendments this week.
Attaining legal equality for same-gender couples and their families has been a hallmark initiative of the left led by President Francois Hollande, although the BBC reports French citizens are split with only about 60% supporting equal marriage rights.
Catholic right organizations have led the campaign against equal rights through massive demonstrations, with both sides acting extremely in preceding months. Bondings 2.0 has reported on these protests, along with more positive language from the French bishops that recognizes the goodness of same-gender relationships. Links to these are provided below.
On a lighter note, the Daily Mail shows two French assemblymen playing Scrabble during the proceedings – with fully commentary on their word choices, if you are interested.
–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry
Recent Posts on Britain
January 10, 2013: Bishops in United Kingdom Attack Marriage Equality on Several Fronts
Recent Posts on France
January 25, 2013: Bishops in France Release Hopeful Statement on Same-Sex Relationships