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04 February 2013

Parliament to debate redefining marriage

Parliament to debate redefining marriage

Government plans to introduce same sex marriage will be debated in Parliament on Tuesday. This is the first opportunity for politicians to have their say on redefining marriage following the publication of the bill in late January.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which as well as proposing civil weddings for same sex couples also grants religious organisation an opt-in should they wish to hold same sex wedding ceremonies. Due to the nature of the Churches of England and Wales specific clauses provide for their situation, clauses that were apparently drawn up with little consultation.

If passed the bill will allow civil partners to convert their partnership to marriage and enable married people to change their legal gender without getting divorced.

The Evangelical Alliance last week provided a briefing for members of parliament responding to the government's attempt to provide a myth buster on issues surrounding the bill. In most cases the government's attempts to defuse concerns were incorrect, disingenuous or irrelevant. The briefing is available to read in full here.

The Prime Minister is giving Conservative MPs a free vote on the bill, and it is expected to pass with significant support from Labour and the Liberal Democrats. However, a sizable rebellion of Conservative backbench MPs are expected to vote against the bill and others abstain at this stage in the parliamentary process.

The Alliance has encouraged supporters to pray for the parliamentary debate ahead of the vote, and many churches made this a focus of their services this weekend. There is still time to contact your MP, and we would encourage you to continue to pray for the MPs as they consider this bill tomorrow.