With the nonstop thumping book awards all week, it was easy to lose sight of Tuesday's magnificent House of Lords vote showing support for marriage equality at a wider margin than the younger, more progressive House of Commons' vote last month. The average age in the House of Lords is 69 and they defeated a "wrecking amendment" to derail the same-sex marriage bill by more than two-to-one, at 390 to 148. The vote followed months of campaigning and two days of intense debate -- everything from absurd antigay insults (most offensive twit: Lord Tebbit, 82. most creative nit: Baron Vinson, also 82, direly warning it would be comparable to "mixing many paints together. The end result is a dull, amorphous moral mess.") to Baroness Barker coming out about her longterm lesbian relationship.
Recent weeks have seen a tremendous number of peers reverse long and deeply held beliefs about marriage, and it's been inspiring to see them evolve. Lord Filkin: "I was wrong. I changed my mind." Many credit the 86 year-old Thatcher Tory Lord Jenkin's speech as a tipping point. His daughter-in-law Baroness Jenkin, 57, said she would not have supported the bill in the past but now is proud to do so.
Alas, victory is not certain. While most are reporting the first same-sex marriages will take place in July 2014, others worry antigay forces may again try to "scupper" the marriage bill. The first openly gay appointed peer and the youngest-ever life peer in 1998, Lord Alli, writes for Pink News:
"We won the vote, but there is still a long way to go. The further stages of the bill will see opponents deploy every tactic and wheeze to try and scupper the legislation... But we can’t stop now. The bill comes back in committee the week commencing 17th June, it will have its report stage 8th July and third reading on the 15th July."