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My Lords, that would trespass on the bounds of consanguinity. For several years in this country we have recognised that it is improper for those who are related to one another to enter into a relationship that is similar to that of marriage. That is something on which we do not trespass. The right reverend Prelates have made plain that they rightly wish to preserve the distinction between marriage and registered relationships. We have listened to that comprehensively. We think that the right reverend Prelates are right: I do not know whether the noble Lord would disagree.
We have made plain that those who enter into a same-sex relationship should have an opportunity to have their relationship recognised. I also know that the noble Lord's honourable friend, said of him that:
"We all know the ingeniousness and cheekiness of my right hon. and noble Friend the Lord Tebbit of Chingford. When one is on his side, he is magnificent to watch. We all enjoy his actions and egg him on, and he is better at it than anybody else".—[Official Report, Commons Standing Committee D; 19/10/04; cols. 17–18.]
I understand that that may be the function that the noble Lord seeks to play in this debate, but on this occasion it is not fun.
This is very serious indeed. It is serious because the implications for the individuals who will suffer will be serious.