May 20th, 2013
Rebellious Tories were unsuccessful in their last minute attempt to insert a poison pill into the marriage equality bill which is undergoing its report stage in the British House of Commons. Marriage equality opponent MP Tim Loughton (Con), for the first time in his entire political career, decided that gays and straights should be treated under British law — but not through marriage equality itself by by making civil partnerships available to heterosexual couples. Prime Minister David Cameron’s government countered that doing so at this late stage would greatly complicate matters and impose a huge potential cost to the treasury (£4 billion, by the government’s back-of-the-envelope estimate) if all of those unmarried heterosexual couples, widows and widowers suddenly began demanding their pensions. The net effect, said the government, is that the bill would have been returned to its consultation phase and guarantee that it would not be returned to Parliament for another five years or so.
Loughton’s amendment posed a serious threat to the marriage bill as about 150 Conservative MP’s threatened to support it, while many Liberal-Democrat and Labour MPs had long been on record supporting heterosexual access to civil partnerships. Together, they could have very easily attached Loughton’s amendment to the bill and forced its multi-year delay. But Labour Party leaders came in to save the day by offering a change to a clause sponsored by Conservative MP Maria Miller which calls for a review to take place to study potential future legislation to open civil partnerships to heterosexual couples (or, alternatively, to possible abolish civil partnerships altogether). Under Miller’s clause, that review was to take place after five years, but Labour proposed an amendment to allow the review to begin immediately. That compromise allowed Labour and Lib-Dem MP’s to abandon Laughton’s amendment while keeping their commitment to equality for civil partnerships intact. Miller’s clause (known as New Clause 16) cleared the Commons in a 391-57 vote at about 10:15 p.m. BST (5:15 EDT), with the Labour amendment passing by acclamation minutes later. About fifteen minutes later, Loughton’s amendment was defeated in a 375-70 vote.
Earlier in the evening, three other amendments which were proposed by marriage equality opponents also went down in defeat with similar margins. One proposed clause would have allowed registrars to refuse to conduct a same-sex wedding on “conscientious objection” grounds. That clause was defeated 340-150. Another clause, which would have made beleif in marriage as between one man and one woman a “protected characteristic of religion” under the Equality Act of 2010, wend down in a 339-148 vote. (MP Chris Bryant (Labour), a former vicar, objected, saying that the clause was unnecessary because other religious beliefs (virgin birth, transubstantiation, etc.) are also not called out inthe Equality Act.) Another clause, which would have added more exemptions to a clause which prohibits penalties for chaplains and other clergy who refuse to conduct same-sex marriages, was also defeated, 321-163.
There will be more votes tomorrow in the Commons, where the bill will also get its third and final readying before being sent to the House of Lords. According to The Guardian:
The gay marriage bill has survived its greatest threat (so far) in its passage through parliament… There will be further votes in the Commons tomorrow, when the bill will also get a third reading, but the government should win those easily. The next big threat will be in the Lords, where many peers are opposed to the legislation. But the Commons passed the bill at second reading with a majority of 225 and tonight Loughton’s amendment was defeated by a majority of 305. The size of these majorities makes it hard to see how the Lords can block the bill.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.