The Rally took place during the debate in the House of Lords over the Sexual Orientations Regulations. In the order of business for the House of Lords was the following:
Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 Baroness Andrews to move that the draft Regulations laid before the House on 13 March be approved. 12th Report from the Statutory Instruments Committee and 14th Report from the Merits CommitteeBaroness O'Caithain introduced the following amendment:
to move, as an amendment to the above motion, to leave out all the words after “that” and insert “this House, having regard to the widespread concerns that the draft Regulations compromise religious liberty and will result in litigation over the content of classroom teaching, and having regard to the legality of the equivalent regulations for Northern Ireland, declines to approve the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.”
During the debate, Baroness O'Caithain said that she believed the SORs to be seriously flawed. She drew attention to the now notorious failure of the Government to allow proper parliamentary scrutiny of the regulations. The House of Commons had no opportunity to debate them except in a last-minute Committee. The approval of the regulations on Monday night was marked by a series of points of order protesting about the abuse of democratic procedure. Baroness O'Caithain said:
"This surely is not acceptable. The government is rushing headlong into the incredibly sensitive area of a clash between gay rights and religious freedom and doing so by secondary legislation that does not allow for amendments and permits only very limited debate."Sadly but not surprisingly, the amendment was defeated by 168 votes to 122.
Tonight's rally was organised by the Lawyers Christian Fellowship and Christian Concern for our Nation. Andrea Minichiello Williams has kept us all informed by comprehensive and informative emails. It was good to see her tonight and to thank her for her work.
I am pleased to say that there were some Catholics although very much in the minority. The Latin Mass Society, the National Association of Catholic Families, the Faith Movement, (and of course, the parish of Our Lady of the Rosary Blackfen) were represented. Apart from myself, priests attending included Fr James Clark (pictured), Fr Mark Swires, Fr John Boyle and Fr Dermot Fenlon.
It was all very evangelical in tone and it was fun to shout "Amen" at various points, as well as enjoying a little fun with the trad Catholics who were there, suggesting other interjections such as "miserere nobis" and "laus tibi Domine" when the un-Lenten alleluias were being shouted. During the various "prayer points" we managed to say the five sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary and added a number of Catholic prayers at the times of spontaneous prayer. It was really ecumenism at its best. After the final hymn, we stuck up a chorus of "Christus Vincit" emphasising the importance of the social Kingship of Jesus Christ.
A few of the younger Catholics got together afterwards with some of the clergy at the Albert pub in Victoria Street. The picture below includes a rare shot of the Mulier Fortis (tapping smartphone) as several of us attempted to use various bits of technology to get any news there might be of the progress of matters in the House of Lords.