February 5, 2013

IconGay marriage Bill victory in House of Commons

Same-sex marriage is a step closer in England and Wales today, after MPs voted by 400 to 175 – a majority of 225.

The Bill extends the legal form of marriage to same-sex couples. It would allow gay couples to legally have a “wedding” (rather than a Civil Partnership ceremony) and some faiths would be free to marry people in their religious buildings – with the notable exception of the Church of England and Church in Wales.

MPs were given a free vote, and Prime Minister David Cameron, who is firmly in favour of same-sex marriage, may be disappointed with the Conservative voting breakdown: 132 Conservative MPs voted for the Bill, 139 voted against, and 30 abstained.

Most Liberal Democrat and Labour MPs voted in favour of the legislation.

“I genuinely believe that we will look back on today as a landmark for equality in Britain,” said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

“Tonight’s vote shows Parliament is very strongly in favour of equal marriage.

“No matter who you are and who you love, we are all equal. Marriage is about love and commitment, and it should no longer be denied to people just because they are gay.

“The Liberal Democrats have long fought for equal marriage. It is party policy and I am proud that the Liberal Democrats are part of the coalition Government that are making it happen.”

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill will now receive more detailed parliamentary scrutiny and is likely to progress to the House of Lords in early May 2013.

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Milly Shaw

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