§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ 4.20 p.m.
§ LORD THANKERTON
My Lords, in rising to move that this Bill be now read 498 a second time, I think I can explain in very brief language indeed the two objects of the Bill, and I can do it best by way of an illustration. If A and B both reside in England they can be married either by way of notice to the registrar and the consequent procedure, or after proclamation of banns. But if A resides in Scotland and B resides in England, the former procedure is not open to them, and they can only be married after proclamation of banns. There seems no obvious reason why this difference should exist, and under Clause 1 the difficulties in the way of this have been removed, and a marriage, either in England or in Scotland, between parties, one of whom resides in England and the other in Scotland, will be on exactly the same footing as if they both resided in the same country. That fully explains the purpose of Clause 1.
Clause 2 is a very small point. At present, if the parties are being married in England, the certificate of proclamation of banns in Scotland, which has to be used for the purpose of the marriage in England, can only be signed by a session clerk—it cannot be signed by the minister of the parish—whereas, if the marriage is taking place in Scotland, it can be signed by either the minister or the session clerk. The proposal of the second clause is that the minister should be authorised in the former case as in the latter to be an alternative authority for signing the certificate. These two points cover the whole object of the Bill, and I trust your Lordships will find it easy to give the measure a Second Reading. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Thankerton.)
§ 4.22 p.m.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (THE MARQUESS OF ZETLAND)
My Lords, not very long ago I had the pleasure of pronouncing a blessing, on behalf of the Government, upon a Bill introduced by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thankerton, and I am in the same happy position again to-day. As your Lordships will have observed from the brief but extremely lucid explanation given by the noble and learned Lord of the objects of the Bill, it is a measure to increase the facilities for unions between English people and Scottish people. I should imagine that no one of your Lordships 499 would wish to prevent so desirable an object, and I have much pleasure in expressing on behalf of the Government their approval and support of the Bill.
§ LORD THANKERTON
I am afraid I have no statistics on that point, but certainly a certain number must be affected.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.