Chapter 36

Parliamentary Usage in the Grand Lodge


The parliamentary usage of civil deliberative bodies is not recognized in Masonry except so far as it does not conflict with the well established Masonic customs.


The parliamentary usage of Masonry is something peculiar unto itself. Its outlines are to be found in the Ancient Constitutions, Rules of Order, and the laws of the Grand Lodge.


The sole object of all debate in the Grand Lodge or in subordinate lodges is to elicit decisions which shall be for the good of the Craft. Hence, all questions under discussion must be positively determined at the time, or final action must be postponed to a definitely stated time when the question must again be resumed and finally decided. [45-23.7;45-23.13].


The formation of a committee of the whole, the call for the previous question, and all obstructive motions are forbidden. This applies to subordinate lodges as well as the Grand Lodge. [Chapter 91].


Debate shall be closed at the will and pleasure of the Grand Master or by the Grand Lodge, but by the latter only after debate has lasted as long as ten minutes. [36-10.7.A].


The Grand Lodge shall not make final disposition of or act upon business of any kind which has not been referred to, and reported upon by, a board, commission, or committee, except by unanimous consent. [13-2.15; 27-7.4]


All matters and subjects of policy whether proposed by resolution, motion report, or the address of the Grand Master shall first be referred to, considered, and reported on by the Board of General Purposes before action is taken by the Grand Lodge, or by any other board, committee, or commission of the Grand Lodge. [21-2; 28-3.1; 5-7.1].


All questions of Masonic jurisprudence and amendments to THE CODE shall be referred to the Committee on Masonic Jurisprudence. [34-1].


No motion, resolution, report, or other act carrying or providing for an appropriation of money shall be passed by the Grand Lodge until after it has been referred to, considered by, and reported on by the Committee on Finance, except by unanimous consent of the Grand Lodge. [13-5.2; 21-2; 36-6; 27-7.2; 36-10.23.D; 36-10.23.E; 36-10.23.F].


The following shall be the Rules of Order of the Grand Lodge:

1. At the first stroke of the Grand Master's gavel there shall be order; any breach thereof shall subject the offender to reprimand. The Grand Deacons and the Grand Marshal may move from place to place in the discharge of their duties.

2. No brother shall speak more than once on the same question without permission from the Grand Master, except the brother who presents a motion, resolution, or other measure who shall be entitled to make the closing address.

3. Any brother after being twice called to order at one session for transgressing these rules, on committing the third offense may be peremptorily ordered to leave the lodge room for that day or dealt with as provided for in Chapter 100 for contempt. [100-4].

4. A brother who desires to speak shall rise, address himself to the "Most Worshipful Grand Master," distinctly state his name and the name and number of his lodge, and remain silent until he is recognized, by name and lodge, by the Grand Master. No member shall interrupt him unless to call him to order, but after he has been set right, he may proceed if he observes due order and decorum. No brother shall speak until he is recognized by the Grand Master.

5. All reports of officers, boards, commissions, and committees of the Grand Lodge shall be submitted in writing, in duplicate, to the Grand Secretary and shall be signed by at least a majority of a board, commission, or committee, provided, that a dissenting minority may also present a report in similar form and manner. [1-1.3; 27-7.2].

6. Every proposition submitted to the Grand Lodge for consideration shall be reduced to writing, as provided in the preceding paragraph, and referred to an appropriate committee.

7. Only the following motions, and in the order given, shall be entertained on a subject under consideration:

A. To close debate, [13-2.3; 36-5].

B. To refer,

C. To postpone to the next annual communication,

D. To postpone to a certain time during the present communication, and

E. To amend or substitute.

8. The following motions are not debatable:

A. To close debate, and

B. To reconsider a vote on any of the motions defined in Regulation 36-10.7.

9. No motion shall be debatable until seconded and stated by the Grand Master, after which it shall be in the possession of the Grand Lodge, it cannot be withdrawn prior to decision or amendment except by the mover with the consent of the second.

10. The question after being put by the Grand Master cannot be debated.

11. In declaring the result of a ballot by show of hands or by standing, as provided in Regulation 19-1.2, the Grand Master shall say: "It appears to the chair that the motion (or resolution) is carried (or lost, as the case may be)"; he shall then pause for a demand for a division or a vote by written ballot as may be permitted by that regulation and if there is no such demand, he shall then say: "The motion is carried (or lost as the case may be)." [19-1].

12. A motion to postpone can be entertained only once during the same stage of consideration of a question.

13. An amendment or a substitution shall be germane to the proposition under consideration. If either is lost, another one substantially the same shall not be entertained at that communication except by two-thirds vote.

14. Only one amendment and one amendment thereto shall be entertained at the same time.

15. A substitute motion shall be open for amendment until adopted.

16. When an amendment to THE CODE is being considered an amendment thereto or a substitute therefor, if germane to the subject, shall be in order. [10-1.5].

17. Upon demand of any member there shall be a division of a question if it can be divided. Division is taken by a standing vote. [19-1.2].

18. A motion for the reconsideration of any vote upon any amendment after final vote on the main proposition may be made only by a member who voted with the majority. There cannot be a reconsideration of the vote for election of officers. [19-7; 63-15].

19. A motion for reconsideration shall be made on the day on which the vote is taken. If not acted upon that day, it shall fall unless consideration thereof is postponed until a subsequent day of the same communication. [19-7].

20. A final vote on any motion or proposition disposes of all other motions or propositions substantially upon the same subject. No other motion or proposition in whole or in part, substantially the same, may be acted upon at the same communication.

21. An appeal to the Grand Lodge from a decision of the Grand Master upon any question of order or procedure arising in the Grand Lodge shall be entertained and decided by a majority vote.

22. In voting by show of hands or by standing, Regulation 19-1.2 shall be fully observed.

23. Proposals on the following subjects shall not be considered if presented after twelve o'clock noon of the second day of the annual communication. [Chapter 10].

A. Proposals to amend, revise, or repeal THE CODE or any part thereof. Any such proposal shall be carried over to the next annual communication, as provided in Chapter 11.

B. Proposals to change the day, hour, or place for the annual communication of the Grand Lodge. [18-1].

C. Proposals to restore a suspended or expelled Mason. [98-1; 101-7].

D. Proposals to introduce a resolution or report appropriating money or a subject matter which in any way relates to the financial affairs of the Grand Lodge. [34-3.1; 5-7.1].

E. Proposals to present any account or claim against the Grand Lodge, other than for the necessary current expenses or disbursements of the Grand Lodge. [34-3.1].

F. Proposals to create, to increase, or otherwise to change the compensation of a grand officer. [21-2; 34-3.1].

24. Nothing in these rules shall be construed so as to interfere with the prerogatives of the Grand Master.

25. All matters before the Grand Lodge shall be determined by a majority vote unless otherwise provided by law.

26. On matters not repugnant to THE CODE, to the established usage and custom of the Craft, or to these rules, Robert's Rules of Order shall govern.

27. Any of these rules may be suspended by a two-thirds vote, unless the rule is contained in another Chapter of THE CODE and no provision is made there for its suspension. [7-5].