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

LONDON Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:36pm EDT

1 of 2. Campaigners Martin Brown (L) and Archie Young embrace during a demonstration for a 'yes' vote to allow gay marriage, as they protest outside Parliament in London February 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

Related Topics

Related Interactive

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 Labor and the Liberal Democrats, Britain's two other main political parties, but damaged Cameron's standing within his own party with many of his own lawmakers criticizing him for being too liberal.

His own MPs had previously twice voted against it.

After a two-hour debate, the House of Commons passed the bill, meaning it now only needs to be approved by Queen Elizabeth, 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 marginalized," 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)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (6)
randburg100 wrote:
Well, at least we know where Camoron’s priorities lie…the economy is tanking, Sterling is tanking, unemployment increasing….but none of these are really important are they….?

Jul 17, 2013 2:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
ChAliGhafoor wrote:
human has always done the things those are against the nature.
same sex marriage is not our nature.
Don’t welcome curse of God.
Just read

Jul 17, 2013 2:39am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Montpessat wrote:
It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law. Psalm 119:126

Jul 17, 2013 4:49am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.