Debates between Baroness Blackstone and Lord Bellamy during the 2019 Parliament

Humanist Marriages

Debate between Baroness Blackstone and Lord Bellamy
Tuesday 29th November 2022

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Baroness Blackstone Portrait Baroness Blackstone (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in the name of my noble friend Lady Bakewell on the Order Paper.

Lord Bellamy Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bellamy) (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the Law Commission recently published its report on reforming wedding law in England and Wales. We must consider the 57 recommendations in full. It is important that we balance the needs and interests of all groups, religious and non-religious, and very carefully consider the implications of changing the law. I hope to be able to publish our initial response in the first part of next year.

Baroness Blackstone Portrait Baroness Blackstone (Lab)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his reply but I must say that I am a little disappointed by it. The Law Commission, to which he referred, took no position on this question. It did not make a recommendation one way or the other. That is because this is a political decision. What is preventing the Government from going ahead and laying an order under the 2013 Act, getting it done now, and stopping once and for all the discrimination against humanists in this area?

Lord Bellamy Portrait Lord Bellamy (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, in a nutshell, the Government’s position is that to lay an order under the 2013 Act solely in favour of humanists would discriminate against other groups—Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and so forth—in permitting them to have a particular form of marriage not available to other groups. The Government’s position is that we must go forward together and solve the whole problem. I will elaborate in a moment on what the problem is.