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Third Reading

Part of Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill – in the House of Lords at 3:30 pm on 15th July 2013.

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Photo of Lord Higgins Lord Higgins Conservative 3:30 pm, 15th July 2013

My Lords, I join other noble Lords in congratulating my noble friend the Minister on the Front Bench on the way in which she has handled this Bill throughout. Indeed, I join all those who expressed appreciation to the noble Lord, Lord Alli, and others who have carried on the debate in such an eloquent and satisfactory manner. I am particularly grateful to the Minister for saying that the review will take into account the position of pension fund trustees and other beneficiaries in ensuring that equality is maintained. I would ask particularly whether the position will be protected so that those in a same-sex marriage do not gain access to a closed pension scheme in a way that would prevent members of the company’s other scheme entering it. Perhaps that point might be taken into account by the review. Can my noble friend say what the composition of the review is to be? I am at rather a loss to understand what interests of Her Majesty are involved in this; that came straight out of the blue. Can my noble friend clarify that particular point?

Finally, I am glad that the order resulting from this review is to be subject to a resolution so that the House will be able to debate the result of the review without having to resort to a prayer. Overall, I think that we have made significant progress. I still have grave reservations about the position of registrars and so on, which I understand was a whipped vote on the other side. In any event, on this particular aspect of the Bill, the Minister has certainly done an excellent job and I am very grateful to her.