The second reading of the Civil Partnership bill, which will give equal rights to many thousands of lesbian and gay couples, has been postponed. The reading, due to take place in the House of Commons on Thursday 16 September, was the first time the bill could be fully debated by MPs. It will now receive its second reading in October.
The Civil Partnership bill has already been through the House of Lords, where amendments that have since been criticised by gay advocacy groups were voted in. These included the extension of the bill to family members and carers of disabled people, despite the proposals being criticised by legal experts and groups representing carers.
Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of Stonewall, said at the time that the amendments were “tragic” and accused some lords of attempting to derail the bill. It was hoped that MPs would work to overturn the changes made in the first chamber, but they will now have to wait until the new date to discuss the bill.
The postponement was due to a conference on Northern Ireland and then the forthcoming party political conferences. If passed, the Civil Partnership bill could give lesbian and gay couples similar rights and responsibilities to those currently enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.