Gay marriage to be legal in England as law clears last hurdle

LONDON Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:11pm BST

1 of 2. Members of the London Gay Men's Choir perform in front of the Houses of Parliament in central London July 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Winning

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LONDON (Reuters) - Gay marriage is to become legal in England and Wales after the lower house of the British parliament approved the final changes on Tuesday to a law that had Prime Minister David Cameron's backing but split his ruling Conservative party.

The law had the support of both Labour and the Lib Dems, Britain's two other main political parties, but damaged Cameron's standing within his own party with many of his own MPs criticising him for being too liberal.

His own MPs had previously twice voted against it.

After a two-hour debate, the Commons passed the bill, meaning it now only needs to be approved by the Queen, a formality.

"The title of this bill might be 'Marriage', but its fabric is about freedom and respect," said Culture Secretary Maria Miller, adding that traditionalists should not feel their concept of marriage had been undermined.

"Freedom to marry regardless of sexuality or gender, but also freedom to believe that marriage should be of one man and one woman, and not be marginalised," she said.

The prime minister personally endorsed the bill to try to show his party was progressive, but that upset some Conservatives who said their Christian beliefs led them to oppose marriage other than between a man and a woman.

Gay couples may already obtain "civil partnerships", conferring the same legal rights as marriage, but campaigners say the distinction gives the impression that society considers gay relationships inferior.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Andrew Osborn and Robin Pomeroy)

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Comments (3)
SBPiper wrote:
What a sad day for a once great country.

Jul 16, 2013 1:22am BST  --  Report as abuse
subopottsboyle wrote:
Another slip down the inexorable slide into the gutter. A kick in the teeth for men and women who respect the sanctity of different sex marriage. But the sooner this rubbish subject is taken of the statute books the sooner politicians can get on with other more important subjects.

Jul 17, 2013 9:20am BST  --  Report as abuse
meolive wrote:
Perhaps SBPiper or subopottsboyle could explain just how gay marriage (as opposed to civil partnerships, which already existed) is going to destroy society, the country, etc.?

Jul 17, 2013 12:42pm BST  --  Report as abuse
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