House of Lords rejects effort to kill gay marriage

June 5, 2013 at 1:27 AM
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LONDON, June 5 (UPI) -- Britain's House of Lords Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected an amendment that would have killed gay marriage legislation.

The vote was 390-148, The Independent reported. The upper house of Parliament advanced the bill to second reading, defeating what was possibly the last chance for opponents to derail it.

Waheed Alli, who sits in the Lords as Baron Alli of Norbury, is a Labor peer and openly gay. He called the vote a "stunning victory for equality."

"There can be no doubt that the public, the House of Commons and now the House of Lords are in favor of marriage equality," Alli said. "Those opposed to this Bill should listen to the overwhelming voice of the majority, not just in both Houses of Parliament, but across the country."

During two days of debate before the bill passed on second reading, many peers cited their own stories, The New York Times said.

"Many years ago, I had the great fortune to meet someone," said Elizabeth Barker, a peer as Baroness Barker. "She and I have loved each other ever since."

Patrick Jenkin or Baron Jenkin of Roding, a lifelong Conservative and member of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, is heterosexual but said he has supported gay rights since his college years. He ridiculed the notion that allowing homosexual unions would hurt the institution of marriage.

Jenkin also remarked on the change since the ugly debate in the 1960s over repealing laws that made homosexual conduct illegal.

There were peers on the other side. Geoffrey Dear, who became Baron Dear after retiring as chief constable of the West Midlands Police, introduced the amendment aimed at killing the bill.

Dear said the bill, if it becomes law, would "completely alter the concept of marriage as we know it."

The House of Commons approved the bill in February. It must take another vote after the measure is released by the Lords.

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