§ Order read for consideration of Lords Amendments.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Lords Amendments be now considered?"
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
I beg to move to leave out the word "now" and to add at the end of the Question the words "upon this day three months."
1780 An Amendment is down on the Paper which, I assume, is an agreed Amendment, but which certainly wants some explanation. I want to draw attention to it now, because there may be more time before we reach the Amendment itself. Its apparent effect is that where notice of marriage has been given or banns have been published in any place of worship, the parties cannot take advantage of the provision unless they are married in a church or chapel. That cannot be meant. I dare say the explanation may be that the words, "banns published or episcopal licence granted," have a technical construction and refer only to members of the Church of England, but the point is a difficult one and, unless we can have an explanation, possibly it would be better that it should be postponed. I therefore move, "That the Lords Amendments be considered upon this day three months."
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
I beg to move, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question, to add the words "upon this day three months." I would ask that some representative of the Government should make a statement in regard to this matter. Unless a satisfactory statement is made, I shall have to bring it up again on the Motion for the Adjournment.
Mr. LAMBERT (Lord of the Admiralty)
This Amendment was inserted by the Lords at the instance of the Archbishop who wished to prevent a marriage, where the banns had been published in a church of the Church of England, taking place anywhere other than in a church of the Church of England. That is the whole scope of the Amendment.
§ Mr. KING
After that explanation I hope this Debate will be adjourned. The Government are putting off, until after Easter, another important piece of business affecting the Church of England, and I do not see why both of these matters cannot go over until after Easter. Apart from that I hold that there is really very great objection to the Amendment. It will very often happen that a man and a woman who propose to get married will not both belong to the Church of England. A case might easily arise where one will move to another place, say, to some port to which the sailor will go and they will be ready as soon as the opportunity 1781 affords to be married there. It may occur that the woman will be a Nonconformist and she would wish to be married in the presence of her family at a Nonconformist chapel in the place. The sailor will naturally wish to go to be married in the place of worship of the bride's parents.
This Amendment will prevent such a reasonable and proper arrangement. It will also prevent their being married under certain circumstances which might easily arise where a Roman Catholic would wish to be married in a Roman Catholic church. In fact, the Amendment is a disability on the marriage ceremony being performed except in the Church of England. I am sure that at this time it is very desirable that we should not raise any such disabilities or difficulties. I am sure that the matter could not have been considered fairly by the Government in the House of Lords when it arose, and I do earnestly hope that the Amendment will not be passed, or that, at any rate, that the Government, if they cannot agree to withdraw the Amendment or agree to its being negatived, will agree to its consideration being put off. It is really a matter of some substance.
§ Question, "That the Lords Amendments be now considered," put, and agreed to.
§ Lords Amendments considered.