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The Merchant Shipping (Homosexual Conduct) Bill is a House of Commons private member’s bill introduced by John Glen (Conservative MP for Salisbury) and is sponsored in the House of Lords by Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Conservative). The Bill has completed all stages in the House of Commons and is scheduled to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 6 April 2017.

Provisions

The Bill would repeal sections 146(4) and 147(3) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which no longer have legal effect but remain in statute. These provisions originally allowed for the dismissal of a member of the crew of a merchant ship on the grounds of homosexual acts. Such a dismissal would now be illegal under subsequent legislation, including the Equality Act 2010.

Reasons for Introducing the Bill

In the Explanatory Notes that it produced for the Merchant Shipping (Homosexual Conduct) Bill on behalf of the Bill’s sponsor, the Government outlined the following reasons why it believed repealing sections 146(4) and 147(3) of the 1994 Act was necessary: while these sections had no legal effect, they might be still be misinterpreted; they were no longer compatible with current values; and their removal would tidy up the statute book. 


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