Tuesday, February 5, 2013
The British Parliament joined the nations of the world granting gay couples the right to marry.
From the UK Independent:
Members of Parliament tonight overwhelming endorsed historic legislation that will give gay couples the equal right to marry.
Almost half a century after homosexuality was legalised in Britain the House of Commons voted by a majority of 400 to 175 to redefine marriage and make it available to all.
But the Tory rebellion was larger than expected with initial indications suggesting that more Conservative MPs voted against equal marriage than in favour. There were 75 abstentions.
Nick Clegg hailed the vote as a “landmark for equality in Britain” which showed “no matter who you are and who you love, we are all equal” while Ed Miliband said it was “an important step forward in the fight for equality in Britain”.
But seven hours of intense and often heartfelt debate revealed deep divisions on both sides of the House over the proposals.
Dozens of Conservatives, including a cabinet minister, defied the appeals of David Cameron to vote against changing the law claiming it would impinge upon religious freedoms.
A number of Labour and Liberal Democrats also chose to vote against the Bill that now faces a bruising passage through committee and the House of Lords before almost certainly becoming law later this year.
To the dismay of gay marriage supporters neither David Cameron nor the string of senior Conservative ministers who have recently come out to back the change sat in the Commons as the Culture Secretary Maria Miller outlined the Government’s plans.
In recent days Mr Cameron has also declined to reiterate his public support for the Bill with Downing Street insisting it was a genuinely free vote.
However an hour before the vote he recorded a last minute television interview saying the move would make society stronger.
“Marriage helps people commit to each other and I think it is right that gay people should be able to get married too,“ he said.
The following European Union nations allow same-sex marriage: Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.