B1550 – Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (Amendment) Bill 2020. Watch

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BosslyGaming
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I'm split on this. In a perfect world we'd have legal same sex marriages throughout the world - this obviously isn't the case. I think that this amendment could be useful in situations like HK where performing the marriages wouldn't put our nationals at risk of arrest but where consent was in a "sort of given, sort of not" grey area. I also take note of the concerns that other members have raised, that this could allow consular marriage to be performed in places where it is outright illegal and could result in our nationals being arrested once they step out of the consulate. I do, however, appreciate the Leader of the Opposition raising the point that this amendment doesn't force such marriages to take place and likely wouldn't result in it. I will make clear that the FCO, under my command, will not put our nationals at risk on foreign soil - and that includes performing marriages in a country where it is illegal. It's not a problem with same sex marriages, it's a problem with keeping our nationals out of foreign jails. On that basis, I believe that I will support this amendment - with hope that future governments will take the same stance and not choose to put our nationals at risk.
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Jammy Duel
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#42
(Original post by Baron of Sealand)
When did I ever claim to have studied international law at Harvard?

There are a lot of differences between British law and laws in other countries. All British law apply within diplomatic missions. There has never been an issue, and it's clearly not breaking international law unless the diplomatic mission is to somehow impose its law outside diplomatic missions' grounds. The line you cited is likely more for scenarios where diplomatic missions' staff broke domestic law outside the mission, and even so, there are countries which then gave them diplomatic immunity to get them out of it. Saudi Arabia did that in Germany.

Spain performs gay marriage in the Hong Kong consulate despite the Hong Kong's former chief executive's objection. If that doesn't count because now you agree that China's non-objection should overrule it, then there's the row between the British Embassy and Belarus over flying the rainbow flag. Gay marriage is currently performed in the diplomatic missions in at least Australia, Cambodia, China, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, the Philippines, Serbia, Venezuela, Vietnam. You can count how many have no gay marriage in their domestic law. On the other hand, numerous countries with legal same-sex marriage does not have a diplomatic mission that performs gay marriage, for example in Mexico (gay marriage recognized nationally, performed in the jurisdiction where the embassy is at, country has no objection to it, gay marriage not performed - are you now going to say the embassy in Mexico City has broken international law and must either close down or perform gay marriage in accordance with the local law?).

As for whether we should ignore the will of the receiving nation (the law of the receiving nation has never been a factor inside the diplomatic mission), I already pointed out over and over again that diplomatic missions are not required to do no matter what, they simply have to option to do it without taking into consideration of the host country's objection with this amendment.
And here comes another one, in our own legislation, specifically the legislation to implement the relevant Vienna Convention:

"
Consular functions

Consular functions consist in:

(a)protecting in the receiving State the interests of the sending State and of its nationals, both individuals and bodies corporate, within the limits permitted by international law;
(b)furthering the development of commercial, economic, cultural and scientific relations between the sending State and the receiving State and otherwise promoting friendly relations between them in accordance with the provisions of the present Convention;
(c)ascertaining by all lawful means conditions and developments in the commercial, economic, cultural and scientific life of the receiving State, reporting thereon to the Government of the sending State and giving information to persons interested;
(d)issuing passports and travel documents to nationals of the sending State, and visas or appropriate documents to persons wishing to travel to the sending State;
(e)helping and assisting nationals, both individuals and bodies corporate, of the sending State;
(f)acting as notary and civil registrar and in capacities of a similar kind, and performing certain functions of an administrative nature, provided that there is nothing contrary thereto in the laws and regulations of the receiving State;
(g)safeguarding the interests of nationals, both individuals and bodies corporate, of the sending State in cases of successionmortis causain the territory of the receiving State, in accordance with the laws and regulations of the receiving State;
(h)safeguarding, within the limits imposed by the laws and regulations of the receiving State, the interests of minors and other persons lacking full capacity who are nationals of the sending State, particularly where any guardianship or trusteeship is required with respect to such persons;
(i)subject to the practices and procedures obtaining in the receiving State, representing or arranging appropriate representation for nationals of the sending State before the tribunals and other authorities of the receiving State, for the purpose of obtaining, in accordance with the laws and regulations of the receiving State, provisional measures for the preservation of the rights and interests of these nationals, where, because of absence or any other reason, such nationals are unable at the proper time to assume the defence of their rights and interests;
(j)transmitting judicial and extra-judicial documents or executing letters rogatory or commissions to take evidence for the courts of the sending State in accordance with international agreements in force or, in the absence of such international agreements, in any other manner compatible with the laws and regulations of the receiving State;
(k)exercising rights of supervision and inspection provided for in the laws and regulations of the sending State in respect of vessels having the nationality of the sending State, and of aircraft registered in that State, and in respect of their crews;
(l)Extending assistance to vessels and aircraft mentioned in sub-paragraph (k) of this Article and to their crews, taking statements regarding the voyage of a vessel, examining and stamping the ship’s papers, and, without prejudice to the powers of the authorities of the receiving State, conducting investigations into any incidents which occurred during the voyage, and settling disputes of any kind between the master, the officers and the seamen in so far as this may be authorized by the laws and regulations of the sending State;
(m)performing any other functions entrusted to a consular post by the sending State which are not prohibited by the laws and regulations of the receiving State or to which no objection is taken by the receiving State or which are referred to in the international agreements in force between the sending State and the receiving State."

To say the laws and regulations of the receiving state don't apply there seems to be an awful lot of having to comply...

and I invite you to read sub-paragraph (f) in particular
Last edited by Jammy Duel; 4 weeks ago
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Jammy Duel
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#43
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#43
(Original post by CatusStarbright)
I understand what you’re saying, and I’m close to supporting this, but I just have a slight reservation about it.
The thing is that is just Baron saying "I accept that this is a bill for the sake of a bill that will change nothing"

(Original post by SankaraInBloom)
A massive Aye from me. The argument on same sex marriage was won in Britain years ago - anyone with British citizenship should have access to that, regardless of which part of the world they are in.
So we should actively encourage our diplomats to break the law?
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by BosslyGaming)
I'm split on this. In a perfect world we'd have legal same sex marriages throughout the world - this obviously isn't the case. I think that this amendment could be useful in situations like HK where performing the marriages wouldn't put our nationals at risk of arrest but where consent was in a "sort of given, sort of not" grey area. I also take note of the concerns that other members have raised, that this could allow consular marriage to be performed in places where it is outright illegal and could result in our nationals being arrested once they step out of the consulate. I do, however, appreciate the Leader of the Opposition raising the point that this amendment doesn't force such marriages to take place and likely wouldn't result in it. I will make clear that the FCO, under my command, will not put our nationals at risk on foreign soil - and that includes performing marriages in a country where it is illegal. It's not a problem with same sex marriages, it's a problem with keeping our nationals out of foreign jails. On that basis, I believe that I will support this amendment - with hope that future governments will take the same stance and not choose to put our nationals at risk.
Except you have already resolved the HK issue and can just as readily do the same in other situations without throwing in the bin the understood way these things work. That clause is in the Act for a reason, just like the same clause is in the heterosexual marriage legislation. It's not there to stop gay marriages, it's there to comply with local laws and regulations, to stop legal challenges when marriages are refused due to, among other things, the Consular Relations Act 1968, and to avoid pissing off half the world.
Last edited by Jammy Duel; 4 weeks ago
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Joleee
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#45
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#45
(Original post by Baron of Sealand)
You do realize British diplomatic missions have been performing gay marriage in countries where it is not legal (eg China), and also have been choosing not to perform gay marriage in countries where it is legal (eg Mexico)? Local legality of gay marriage has not been a factor in whether the missions perform gay marriage, anywhere in the world, even without this amendment.

Unless you have another reason for your objection?
can you please stop calling it 'gay marriage'. it's just marriage.

my right honourable friends have already expressed my opinion. part of being in the world is acting like you are in the world. whatever you are trying to do to circumvent the rule of law is just gross.
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BurstingBubbles
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#46
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#46
I would support this. As well as it just being nice to have the marriage recognised, it would also be for legal reasons. I hope I'd never be in this position but if my same sex partner (if we were married) fell seriously/fatally ill abroad and I wasn't recognised as being able to help make medical etc decisions for her, I would be devastated.
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Jammy Duel
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#47
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(Original post by BurstingBubbles)
I would support this. As well as it just being nice to have the marriage recognised, it would also be for legal reasons. I hope I'd never be in this position but if my same sex partner (if we were married) fell seriously/fatally ill abroad and I wasn't recognised as being able to help make medical etc decisions for her, I would be devastated.
This literally does nothing, contrary to what the proposer believes.

It also does not change the fact that other countries would not recognise the marriage, and there is other UK legislation that effectively gives a receiving state the power to block marriages, gay or otherwise, being carried out in embassies as per international law.
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Baron of Sealand
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#48
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#48
(Original post by CatusStarbright)
I understand what you’re saying, and I’m close to supporting this, but I just have a slight reservation about it.
What is your slight reservation?
(Original post by BosslyGaming)
I'm split on this. In a perfect world we'd have legal same sex marriages throughout the world - this obviously isn't the case. I think that this amendment could be useful in situations like HK where performing the marriages wouldn't put our nationals at risk of arrest but where consent was in a "sort of given, sort of not" grey area. I also take note of the concerns that other members have raised, that this could allow consular marriage to be performed in places where it is outright illegal and could result in our nationals being arrested once they step out of the consulate. I do, however, appreciate the Leader of the Opposition raising the point that this amendment doesn't force such marriages to take place and likely wouldn't result in it. I will make clear that the FCO, under my command, will not put our nationals at risk on foreign soil - and that includes performing marriages in a country where it is illegal. It's not a problem with same sex marriages, it's a problem with keeping our nationals out of foreign jails. On that basis, I believe that I will support this amendment - with hope that future governments will take the same stance and not choose to put our nationals at risk.
I will just point out again the fact that there are diplomatic missions in countries where same-sex marriage is legal but it's not performed in the mission, such as in Mexico City, where same-sex marriage is legal and is performed, but only heterosexual marriages can be performed at the embassy.

No diplomatic missions will be forced to perform same-sex marriage in jurisdictions where homosexuality is criminalized unless the government makes them to. Even so, of course, the host country doesn't have to know that the marriage was performed.
(Original post by Joleee)
can you please stop calling it 'gay marriage'. it's just marriage.

my right honourable friends have already expressed my opinion. part of being in the world is acting like you are in the world. whatever you are trying to do to circumvent the rule of law is just gross.
In what way exactly is this circumventing the rule of law?

Is the Mexico City Embassy circumventing the rule of law by not performing same-sex marriage? Is the Beijing Embassy circumventing the rule by performing same-sex marriage?
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
Except you have already resolved the HK issue and can just as readily do the same in other situations without throwing in the bin the understood way these things work. That clause is in the Act for a reason, just like the same clause is in the heterosexual marriage legislation. It's not there to stop gay marriages, it's there to comply with local laws and regulations, to stop legal challenges when marriages are refused due to, among other things, the Consular Relations Act 1968, and to avoid pissing off half the world.
I'm very happy to see that you have finally completely agreed with me saying that the MR was completely legal.

I'm very tempted to flip-flop on my support for something in the future, just to see if that will make you change your position constantly as well.
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
And here comes another one, in our own legislation, specifically the legislation to implement the relevant Vienna Convention:

"
Consular functions

Consular functions consist in:

(a)protecting in the receiving State the interests of the sending State and of its nationals, both individuals and bodies corporate, within the limits permitted by international law;
(b)furthering the development of commercial, economic, cultural and scientific relations between the sending State and the receiving State and otherwise promoting friendly relations between them in accordance with the provisions of the present Convention;
(c)ascertaining by all lawful means conditions and developments in the commercial, economic, cultural and scientific life of the receiving State, reporting thereon to the Government of the sending State and giving information to persons interested;
(d)issuing passports and travel documents to nationals of the sending State, and visas or appropriate documents to persons wishing to travel to the sending State;
(e)helping and assisting nationals, both individuals and bodies corporate, of the sending State;
(f)acting as notary and civil registrar and in capacities of a similar kind, and performing certain functions of an administrative nature, provided that there is nothing contrary thereto in the laws and regulations of the receiving State;
(g)safeguarding the interests of nationals, both individuals and bodies corporate, of the sending State in cases of successionmortis causain the territory of the receiving State, in accordance with the laws and regulations of the receiving State;
(h)safeguarding, within the limits imposed by the laws and regulations of the receiving State, the interests of minors and other persons lacking full capacity who are nationals of the sending State, particularly where any guardianship or trusteeship is required with respect to such persons;
(i)subject to the practices and procedures obtaining in the receiving State, representing or arranging appropriate representation for nationals of the sending State before the tribunals and other authorities of the receiving State, for the purpose of obtaining, in accordance with the laws and regulations of the receiving State, provisional measures for the preservation of the rights and interests of these nationals, where, because of absence or any other reason, such nationals are unable at the proper time to assume the defence of their rights and interests;
(j)transmitting judicial and extra-judicial documents or executing letters rogatory or commissions to take evidence for the courts of the sending State in accordance with international agreements in force or, in the absence of such international agreements, in any other manner compatible with the laws and regulations of the receiving State;
(k)exercising rights of supervision and inspection provided for in the laws and regulations of the sending State in respect of vessels having the nationality of the sending State, and of aircraft registered in that State, and in respect of their crews;
(l)Extending assistance to vessels and aircraft mentioned in sub-paragraph (k) of this Article and to their crews, taking statements regarding the voyage of a vessel, examining and stamping the ship’s papers, and, without prejudice to the powers of the authorities of the receiving State, conducting investigations into any incidents which occurred during the voyage, and settling disputes of any kind between the master, the officers and the seamen in so far as this may be authorized by the laws and regulations of the sending State;
(m)performing any other functions entrusted to a consular post by the sending State which are not prohibited by the laws and regulations of the receiving State or to which no objection is taken by the receiving State or which are referred to in the international agreements in force between the sending State and the receiving State."

To say the laws and regulations of the receiving state don't apply there seems to be an awful lot of having to comply...

and I invite you to read sub-paragraph (f) in particular
Since you clearly aren't getting the message, I will just say this again:

The Beijing Embassy performs same-sex marriage despite it not being legal in China.

The Mexico City Embassy does not perform same-sex marriage despite it being legal in Mexico.

If you believe the performance of a consular marriage must be performed only when it's legal/regulated in the host country, then you must be saying British diplomatic missions are currently breaking the law (and as you earlier claimed, international law). It's either that, or you are just completely wrong about the whole thing.
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04MR17
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#51
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(Original post by SankaraInBloom)
A massive Aye from me. The argument on same sex marriage was won in Britain years ago - anyone with British citizenship should have access to that, regardless of which part of the world they are in.
They already do.
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04MR17
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#52
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#52
(Original post by Baron of Sealand)
It seems to be you didn't read anything in the text. You simply see that it's from me and decided to oppose it. Otherwise, you wouldn't have missed the part where it says it's for consular marriages only, as well as the actual text I am amending.
Wrong on two counts. I did read the text and I didn't see that it was from you (you can't see field tags on the app).

Would you remind commenting on the proposer of the original act who responded to a concern on the very point this bill raises:

I have made the position very clear. I will repeat what I said so that it is on the record. Conducting same-sex marriages without host Government permission could be contrary to international law, which, of course, we would not want to break. At the same time, it would risk damaging bilateral relations, which, of course, we would not want to do. I think I have made the position clear.
https://publications.parliament.uk/p.../130307s01.htm
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Baron of Sealand
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#53
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#53
(Original post by 04MR17)
Wrong on two counts. I did read the text and I didn't see that it was from you (you can't see field tags on the app).

Would you remind commenting on the proposer of the original act who responded to a concern on the very point this bill raises:

I have made the position very clear. I will repeat what I said so that it is on the record. Conducting same-sex marriages without host Government permission could be contrary to international law, which, of course, we would not want to break. At the same time, it would risk damaging bilateral relations, which, of course, we would not want to do. I think I have made the position clear.
https://publications.parliament.uk/p.../130307s01.htm
Has Spain been taken to an international court for supposedly breaking international law, then? I have already pointed out that in reality, it has been done with and without an objection, regardless of the legality of same-sex marriage in the host country (which is not a factor at all).

Yes, it would risk damaging bilateral relations, which is why this amendment doesn't force all diplomatic missions to perform it, and why there will continue be a huge number of missions not performing it. This is the same as the British Embassy in Belarus flying the rainbow flag despite the Belarusian government's objection, the Saudis declaring someone a diplomat to get them out of killing someone in Germany, and the murder of the journalist in Istanbul.

With the amendment, the diplomatic mission has several options:
- not perform it because of any reason, including because of the host country's objection (which they would then claim to be due to a lack of proper facilities, despite their performing heterosexual marriages on the same location)
- perform it then stop after receiving an objection from the host country (note that if you never ask, you might never get anything because ultimately most countries likely couldn't care less when consular marriages could only be performed with at least one UK national in the partnership)
- perform it regardless of an objection, for any reason

If the government of the day does believe that it breaks international law (when in reality no country has been taken to international court for doing that), then it has the option to not perform it. If it doesn't believe it breaks any law, then it has the option to perform it. If it believes it might break international law but would do it as long as it's unclear, they can do it until the host country objects or files a complaint.
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04MR17
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#54
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(Original post by Baron of Sealand)
Has Spain been taken to an international court for supposedly breaking international law, then? I have already pointed out that in reality, it has been done with and without an objection, regardless of the legality of same-sex marriage in the host country (which is not a factor at all).

Yes, it would risk damaging bilateral relations, which is why this amendment doesn't force all diplomatic missions to perform it, and why there will continue be a huge number of missions not performing it. This is the same as the British Embassy in Belarus flying the rainbow flag despite the Belarusian government's objection, the Saudis declaring someone a diplomat to get them out of killing someone in Germany, and the murder of the journalist in Istanbul.

With the amendment, the diplomatic mission has several options:
- not perform it because of any reason, including because of the host country's objection (which they would then claim to be due to a lack of proper facilities, despite their performing heterosexual marriages on the same location)
- perform it then stop after receiving an objection from the host country (note that if you never ask, you might never get anything because ultimately most countries likely couldn't care less when consular marriages could only be performed with at least one UK national in the partnership)
- perform it regardless of an objection, for any reason

If the government of the day does believe that it breaks international law (when in reality no country has been taken to international court for doing that), then it has the option to not perform it. If it doesn't believe it breaks any law, then it has the option to perform it. If it believes it might break international law but would do it as long as it's unclear, they can do it until the host country objects or files a complaint.
No, Spain has not been taken to court because it hasn't broken any laws. I didn't suggest Spain had and I'm very confused about how you reached that conclusion.

I also never raised the point of legality of marrying same-sex couples in other countries, and frankly I don't think this has anything to do with the bill, so if you could cease crow-barring it into the discussion I'd appreciate it. You keep telling me it's not a factor, I've not pretended otherwise, let's stop repeating a point we agree on.

You're right, the amendment doesn't force embassies to do anything, nor does the original act, actually.
2(1)A registration officer is not required to allow two people to marry each other if the registration officer’s opinion is that a marriage between them would be inconsistent with international law or the comity of nations.


Therefore, without the amendment, the diplomatic mission has several options:
- not perform it because of any reason, including because of the host country's objection (which they would then claim to be due to a lack of proper facilities, despite their performing heterosexual marriages on the same location)
- perform it then stop after receiving an objection from the host country (note that if you never ask, you might never get anything because ultimately most countries likely couldn't care less when consular marriages could only be performed with at least one UK national in the partnership)
- perform it regardless of an objection, for any reason



Therefore, you're now admitting that your bill changes nothing.
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Rakas21
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#55
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Mr Speaker, this bill has my full support.
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Jammy Duel
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#56
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(Original post by Baron of Sealand)
Since you clearly aren't getting the message, I will just say this again:

The Beijing Embassy performs same-sex marriage despite it not being legal in China.

The Mexico City Embassy does not perform same-sex marriage despite it being legal in Mexico.

If you believe the performance of a consular marriage must be performed only when it's legal/regulated in the host country, then you must be saying British diplomatic missions are currently breaking the law (and as you earlier claimed, international law). It's either that, or you are just completely wrong about the whole thing.
And still you are stuck talking about China, about one specific case where neither the law being amended, not the Consular Relations Act 1968 is being breached by R50.

You can come up with specific countries all you like but that does not change the facts of the matter. It is not same-sex marriage these restrictions apply to, it is all marriages in the multiple different ways brought up (the Act being amended and it's opposite-sex equivalent, other parts of the Act as brought up by 04, the Consular Relations Act 1968 [which clearly shows the British interpretation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations means local law applies in embassies, despite your claims to the contrary]).

Here's another one for you, two same sex Britons cannot get married in the embassy in Madrid while visiting, neither can two Britons if opposite sex, because Spain does not allow any marriages unless at least of the people marrying is at the very least a permanent resident. There are laws involved in these things beyond straight up legality or illegality of locals to enter into the same union domestically. One suspects that these countries have either laws allowing marriages contrary, to an extent, to local law in diplomatic missions, just don't recognise them in local law, or alternatively treaties to the same effect
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Jammy Duel
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#57
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#57
(Original post by Rakas21)
Mr Speaker, this bill has my full support.
This bill does literally nothing, the restrictions it aims to lift will still remain, it is an ill informed bill for the sake of an ill informed bill from a chronically ill informed man.

Further still it is "heterophobic" in intent
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04MR17
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#58
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#58
(Original post by Rakas21)
Mr Speaker, this bill has my full support.
Would you mind explaining exactly what changes you believe this bill brings about?
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Baron of Sealand
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#59
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#59
(Original post by 04MR17)
No, Spain has not been taken to court because it hasn't broken any laws. I didn't suggest Spain had and I'm very confused about how you reached that conclusion.

I also never raised the point of legality of marrying same-sex couples in other countries, and frankly I don't think this has anything to do with the bill, so if you could cease crow-barring it into the discussion I'd appreciate it. You keep telling me it's not a factor, I've not pretended otherwise, let's stop repeating a point we agree on.

You're right, the amendment doesn't force embassies to do anything, nor does the original act, actually.
2(1)A registration officer is not required to allow two people to marry each other if the registration officer’s opinion is that a marriage between them would be inconsistent with international law or the comity of nations.


Therefore, without the amendment, the diplomatic mission has several options:
- not perform it because of any reason, including because of the host country's objection (which they would then claim to be due to a lack of proper facilities, despite their performing heterosexual marriages on the same location)
- perform it then stop after receiving an objection from the host country (note that if you never ask, you might never get anything because ultimately most countries likely couldn't care less when consular marriages could only be performed with at least one UK national in the partnership)
- perform it regardless of an objection, for any reason



Therefore, you're now admitting that your bill changes nothing.
Wrong. Without the amendment, the mission cannot perform it if there's an objection (hence the debate in the MR earlier, though of course one of those people who claimed it couldn't have been done without a law change seemed to have completely abandoned his claim now). That is the difference.
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
This bill does literally nothing, the restrictions it aims to lift will still remain, it is an ill informed bill for the sake of an ill informed bill from a chronically ill informed man.

Further still it is "heterophobic" in intent
If you believe I must amend any other bill, throw them at me and I will do them all. I can do them one by one.

The act you cited earlier used the word "or" so I'm not sure if your interpretation of it barring consular marriage even with this amendment is true.
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