Clause 18 - Short title and commencement

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 8:55 am on 12 March 2013.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr Burrowes rose—

Photo of David Burrowes David Burrowes Conservative, Enfield, Southgate

It is wearying. I certainly do not think that I am, in any way, as crowd-pleasing and flamboyant in my stroke play as Kevin Pietersen—but perhaps I am more consistent than him.

I want a very brief debate to understand why the title has changed over the consultation period. It started as an equal civil marriage consultation, and now the Bill is entitled the “Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill”. The Government’s policy intention seems to be all about equality, but perhaps they did not want to still have “equal” in the short title to reflect that, as they have not shown that in name of the Bill. Is it because the Government have accepted that this is not a fully equal marriage Bill? Given that we have already had debates on the issue of adultery, non-consummation, civil partnerships and other issues around equality, did the Government struggle to add that full title to the Bill, and did they want to end up with this short title? Nevertheless, I think it is a title that is relevant and appropriate, given that we are dealing with marriage and the whole definition of that institution.

Photo of Hugh Robertson Hugh Robertson The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

I do not think that there is a great deal to add, despite the temptations otherwise. The short title of the Bill is what it says on the can. The Bill is about marriage and enabling same-sex couples to get married, and that is what the short title says. It is as simple as that.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 18 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon 9:15, 12 March 2013

We now come to the new clauses and schedules. When a separate decision is to be sought on those that have already been debated, I have noted that down.