Same-sex marriage is now the law in England and Wales

Same-sex couples will be able to get married in England and Wales after new measures became law.

The government’s controversial legislation on the issue received Royal Assent on Wednesday.

The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaderships all backed the proposals, which were finally approved by MPs and peers earlier this week.

Continuing to call a measure “controversial” after all three major parties backed the proposals is only a comment on the BBC worrying about offending the few churchgoers left in the UK.

It is expected that the first gay and lesbian wedding ceremonies will take place by summer next year.

Under the terms of the the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, religious organisations will have to “opt in” to offering weddings, with the Church of England and Church in Wales being banned in law from doing so.

Commons Speaker John Bercow announced the bill had received Royal Assent – the formal approval of the sovereign required for all legislation. The news was greeted with cheers in the Commons chamber…

There will also be a review of whether groups such as the humanists will be allowed to carry out marriages, while ministers said they were prepared to look at eliminating any difference in the treatment of gay couples when it came to pension schemes.

During the Commons debate, Equalities Minister Maria Miller said the passing of the bill was “clear affirmation” that “respect for each and every person is paramount, regardless of age, religion, gender, ethnicity or sexuality”, she added.

Religious groups which traditionally support civil rights will opt-in, no doubt. Conservatives, cowards, cookie-cutter reactionaries will continue to whine until their children finally stop inviting them for holiday dinners – and they run out of people polite enough to listen to them.

Of course, all the reasons for passage of this law in the UK are as legitimate here in the United States. But, then, neither the White House nor Congress has sufficient courage to challenge bigots and backwards ideology.

Scandal in House of Lords rocks Labour Party

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At a meeting late last year at the House of Lords, Thomas Taylor, a peer and stalwart of the governing Labour Party, told visitors who introduced themselves as representatives of a Hong Kong businessman seeking tax relief on an investment in Britain that “you’ve got to whet my appetite to get me on board.” He added that some companies he had worked with paid him the equivalent of about $140,000.

“That’s cheap for what I do for them,” he said.

In reality, the visitors to the Lords’ guest room overlooking the Thames were reporters for The Sunday Times, one of Britain’s most widely circulated newspapers. Their front-page account last weekend of their meetings with Taylor and three other Labour Party peers who were said to have agreed to accept payments for lobbying on behalf of the fictitious businessman have sent shock waves through British politics.

All four of the men named by the newspaper have denied any wrongdoing, and senior Labour officials have accused the paper of entrapment. The House of Lords has begun an inquiry, including a review of creaky, hard-to-carry-out procedures that require an act of Parliament to oust miscreants in the chamber…

The Sunday Times said it had assigned reporters posing as lobbyists to approach 10 peers. It said that four of five Labour members it approached showed a willingness to take payments to help amend a pending bill in ways that would lower taxes for the fictitious businessman in a plan to open 30 shops.

The paper named the four peers: Taylor, 79; Lord Peter Truscott, 49, an Oxford-educated former energy minister in Tony Blair’s Labour government; Lord Peter Snape, 66, a former railroad man and Labour whip in the Commons; and Lord Lewis Moonie, 61, a psychiatrist and former junior defense minister. It said three Conservative peers had not answered the reporters’ calls, and two members of smaller opposition parties had rejected offers of payment, one of them saying angrily that the offer was contrary to basic concepts of integrity.

Abolish the fraking House of Lords altogether. Aren’t there existing regs on corruption which might be used on the political hacks in question?