§ 5.42 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD MATHERS
My Lords, there has been a certain amount of contention in this House to-day. We now come to an item about which there will be no contention. In moving that this Bill be given a Second Reading, I do so on the assumption that your Lordships wish the course of true love to run smoothly. The object of the Bill is precisely that, and there is no young Lochinvar or Jock o'Hazeldean business about it. The Bill is the work of Mr. Bence, the Member for East Dunbartonshire, and it had the backing of all Parties in another place. In addition, it has had a cordial welcome from the Government.
The object of the Bill is achieved by giving civilians the facility to be married in Scotland without the usual requirement of fifteen days' residence in Scotland before the giving of notice to the registrar by one of the contracting parties. Before 1939, both parties were required to have fifteen days' residence in Scotland to permit of civil marriage. There was a greater facility in respect of a church marriage, but that was the case with regard to civil marriage. It is now possible for a member of the Forces to satisfy the residence qualification if the home from which he has temporarily withdrawn is his usual residence. It will be apparent to your Lordships that service in the Forces is not the only cause of young people being temporarily, or even permanently, out of Scotland; and it is quite natural that a young man or woman should wish to be married in Scotland where his or her parents and friends of youth are in residence. I am confident that it will be your Lordships' desire to extend the Services facility to benefit civilians as well.
I may inform your Lordships that the Church of Scotland, which has much to do with the proclamation of banns, has already approved, in principle, a change in its arrangements giving effect to the purpose of this Bill, and there is a clause in the Bill to allow the necessary change to be made by the Church. Certain helpful Amendments to the Bill were made in Committee in another place, and I now present it to this House as a measure 1061 to which I believe we may confidently agree as a desirable and helpful addition to Scottish law. I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.
§ Moved, that the Bill be now read 2a.— (Lord Mathers.)
§ LORD STRATHCLYDE
My Lords, I rise merely to say that the Government welcome this Bill, which they believe will serve a useful purpose, in that it will eliminate hardship which does occasionally arise. In the Government's view it is entirely reasonable that the cause of this hardship should be removed, as it is by this Bill.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.