First shot


Is the opening shot about to be fired in the parliamentary battle on gay marriage?

In a couple of weeks' time, on 30 October, Labour MP Chris Bryant will propose a ten minute rule bill "to remove restrictions on marriage and civil partnership, including the prohibitions on marriage between two people of the same sex, on civil partnership between two people who are not of the same sex… and on the use of religious premises for the solemnisation of certain marriages.."

Ten minute rule bills are usually little more than an excuse for a ten minute speech on a particular cause - and Mr Bryant has, in the past, made a habit of opposing them, because he thinks the whole procedure is a bit silly. But now he appears to be using it to get the debate onto the floor of the Commons and force a vote, in order to demonstrate the level of support among MPs.

It would be surprising if someone didn't seek to oppose the bill, and make a ten minute speech against: so a division is quite likely, unless opponents decide to duck the challenge.

And it's worth remembering that while ten minute rule bills rarely become law, it is not impossible for them to do so - smart manoeuvring by Andrew Dismore, who lost his seat at the last election, got one such into law. It takes timing, luck and cooperation, not least from the government whips, and I'm sure Mr Bryant would like nothing better than to have the chance to hold a second reading debate, to air the arguments and push the government on an issue where legislation is supposed to be forthcoming.

This is both because he believes in the cause - and because many in the Conservative grassroots clearly don't.

Mark D'Arcy Article written by Mark D'Arcy Mark D'Arcy Parliamentary correspondent

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  • rate this

    Comment number 18.


    Which is why such talk as bigotry needs to be banned, because that way it reduces the no of people sputing acceptable nonsense in public, giving us kids chance to grow up not having their minds warped by hearing the minotiry gobbing off about their own prejudices making it sound like it's OK, when bigotry is not OK.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    You can make it illegal to SAY negative things about homosexual people but not to THINK them.

    What I think and say on this matter are not the same. Have to be careful, as posting my true opinion might get me moderated...

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.


    If your point was the one I answered in my post No. 14 then apologies for my rant in No. 13 - I am having one of those days, not that that excuses it if I did get the wrong end of the stick completely. Sorry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.


    If you mean what's the point this legislation per se then the point is that it will pur civil partnerships on the same status as civil marriage, as they'll be one & the same thing, not different things.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    12.JP - "......Therefore what's the point?............"

    How stupid are you? YOU claimed this idea would force religions to marry people who are gay/lesbian etc.

    I pointed out you were sompletely and utterly incorrrect to say that.

    That was my point, clearly can you not understand that? You lied and/or misrepesented the idea I correctd you......


Comments 5 of 18



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