“The biggest uncertainty facing the same-sex marriage bill is how the House of Lords will vote. We just don’t know how much opposition there will be in the upper house. It would be a big mistake to assume that equal marriage is a done deal,” warned Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights advocacy organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, and coordinator of the Equal Love campaign.
“There is no room for complacency. We need to lobby the Lords just like we lobbied the Commons. Church leaders and right-wing peers are determined to derail the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. They’ll try to vote it down and introduce wrecking amendments.
“Last month, Lord Dear predicted that the bill could be defeated by peers.
“While it would be unusual and unethical for the unelected Lords to overturn a bill passed by a huge 225-vote majority in the Commons, it is not impossible or unlawful. In the event of defeat in the Lords, it is not clear whether the government would invoke the Parliament Act to secure the bill’s passage.
“The bill is expected to be debated and voted on by the House of Lords next month. We need to lobby peers well in advance of the vote. They are already under huge pressure from religious leaders and right-wing lobbyists to vote against equal marriage. We need to counter that pressure.
“Massive thanks to everyone – LGBT & straight – who lobbied their MP. You helped us win the House of Commons vote for same-sex marriage. Without your efforts we would not be on the cusp of equal marriage. Bravo!
“Now we must lobby the House of Lords,” said Mr Tatchell
Draft model letter to members of the House of Lords
I urge you to support the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill when it comes to the House of Lords.
Same-sex couples who love each other should not be denied the right to marry. This denial is deeply offensive.
If you support love and marriage, I hope that you’ll welcome the fact that LGBT couples love each other and want to get married.
Civil partnerships were an important advance but they are not equality. Separate laws are not equal laws.
I am sure you would not accept a situation where the law banned black or Jewish couples from getting married but offered them a civil partnership instead. This humiliation is what the current legislation does to same-sex couples. It fobs them off with second best: civil partnerships.
I ask you to consider how you would feel if you were banned by law from marrying the person you love. I’m certain you’d feel upset and offended.
In democratic society, everyone should be equal before the law. There should be no discrimination based on person’s sexuality.
I ask you to support full equality in civil marriage and civil partnership law. Please support the legalisation of:
Same-sex civil marriages
Opposite-sex civil partnerships
Religious same-sex marriages by clergy who wish to conduct them.
The twin legal bans on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships are unjust discrimination.
I urge you to support the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, and the amendment to extend civil partnerships to straight men and women, to ensure that both civil marriages and civil partnerships are open to everyone – gay and heterosexual couples – with no discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.