Gay Marriage Legislation to Be Passed in UK With Parliament Act?
With the continued opposition against the British government's plan to implement gay marriage, government officials have hinted at the possibility of using the "Parliament Act" to force such legislation through and make it law.
Maria Miller, Culture Secretary, floated the idea that Members of Parliament would be prepared to use the "Parliament Act" in order to pass gay marriage legislation and make it law should The House of Lords fail to pass legislation legalizing gay marriage.
The debate over gay marriage in the U.K. has recently increased in intensity after high ranking government officials stated they were working to move legislation regarding gay marriage forward.
That revelation came after a government consultation found that a slim majority of British citizens were in favor of passing gay marriage legislation, even after accusations of the consultation being a "sham."
"There were serious flaws with the consultation, not only was it loaded in favor of ripping up the centuries-old definition of marriage, but it lacked even the most basic of safeguards to check the identity of those taking part," Colin Hart, Campaign Director of Coalition 4 Marriage, said in a statement.
To quell growing fears of conservatives and religious leaders, Prime Minister David Cameron insisted that religious institutions would not be forced to perform such same-sex ceremonies in their houses of worship.
Cameron insisted that protections would be implemented to make sure those religious bodies would not be subjected to litigation concerning their refusal to participate in ceremonies that would conflict with their conscience.
The government's proposed move, referred to as a "nuclear" option, would utilize the Parliament Act, which was designed to be used to break an impasse, should The Commons and The Lords come to one.
The act stipulates that should The Lords fail to pass legislation, the lower Commons could invoke that act, which would supersede the upper house's decision.
However, legal scholars in Britain have revealed that it has only been used seven times in the past century and maintain that the bill was designed to be used only in extreme circumstances.
A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport explained that using such a measure to pass legislation that has been so divisive was not likely.
"We do not foresee that this will be the case and have no plans to do so," according to an official statement from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
A poll from Dec. 22-26 that was facilitated by ConservativeHome, a British conservative organization, was completed by 2,568 members of the conservative party and found only 37 percent of members supported Cameron's move to introduce gay marriage, while 55 percent of members were against those plans.