Queen Elizabeth's 60th Anniversary Brings Gay Marriage Challenge To Promise

Monday, 03 Jun 2013 03:54 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation emanated through England Sunday and will continue with a dinner for more than 2,000 guests Tuesday at Westminster Abbey.

Larger celebrations last year for the queen’s diamond jubilee marked her ascension to the throne, but the actual coronation anniversary for Queen Elizabeth, 87, is about 18 months later. Gun salutes resounded through the city Monday and a four-day coronation festival will be held at Buckingham Palace in July.

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The coronation celebrations are occurring amidst challenges that the queen may have to break her sovereign promise to "uphold God’s laws," which she made when she was crowned. The contentious conversation centers around the bill being debated in the House of Lords that would allow same-sex couples to marry. The vote will be held Tuesday.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill for England and Wales would let same-sex couples marry. They already can form civil unions.

Former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali said the Prime Minister shouldn’t put Queen Elizabeth in the position of breaking the promise she made, although he acknowledged that she must follow advice from her ministers.

The BBC reported Monday that the bill passed in the Commons, but the result of Tuesday’s vote was “too close to call.” It is expected to face a difficult passage through the House of Lords.

On NDTV, it was reported that Lord Alli, a supporter of same-sex marriage, said the government could force through legislation using the Parliament Act even if peers in the Lords vote to reject the bill.

The act is not used often and could force a "constitutional crisis," he warned.

Like many such bills in the United States and other countries, public and political outcry has been vehement on both sides. The Conservative Party membership spoke out loudly against the bill, saying it will weaken the party’s morale and electoral appeal, the BBC reported.

The Scottish government will soon introduce a bill allowing same-sex marriage in that country. In France, passage of the law provoked violent protests, and the first mayor to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony in late May received numerous threats.

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Related stories:

French Gay Marriage Opponents Stage Big Paris March

Delaware Becomes 11th State to Allow Same Sex Marriages

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