In recent weeks there has been much to celebrate here in the US on the marriage equality front with the striking down of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the invalidation of California’s Proposition 8. But today, we learn that our friends on the other side of the pond have even greater cause for celebration. The 2 houses of the British Parliament have approved a law legalizing same-sex marriage in England and all that is left is for Queen Elizabeth, II to formally approve the bill for it to officially become law! With the passage of this bill into law, marriage equality will be enjoyed by same-sex couples in England … and I couldn’t be happier for the entire country!! UPDATE: The Queen has given her approval, the marriage equality bill is now officially law!
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 Liberal Democrats, Britain’s two other main political parties, but damaged Cameron’s standing within his own party with many of his own lawmakers criticising 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 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.
This is amazing, amazing news. Altho England has enjoyed “civil partnerships” up until now, the passage of this marriage bill will finally allow all committed couples in England to enjoy the same rights and privileges as any married couple. I really have to commend Prime Minister Cameron‘s support of this marriage equality bill. It’s no easy thing to go against one’s political party but when one’s party line is diametrically opposed to rightness and fairness then a break with one’s party must take place. This is really the best news of the day, I think. Let’s send all of our love and congrats to the people of England. Very soon they will be the latest country in the world to allow same-sex marriage … a distinction that I hope the United State of America will enjoy sometime soon.
UPDATE: Queen Elizabeth, II has given Royal Assent (ie. approval) to the bill and the law is now officially passed:
The equal marriage bill for England and Wales was today given Royal Assent, and is now officially law. The Queen’s Royal Assent was granted to the bill on Wednesday at 15:06, turning it into the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, after clearing the final stage in Parliament yesterday, following two hours of debate, and the introduction of government amendments. The bill officially became law once its Royal Assent was announced in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords … The equal marriage bill was passed in the House of Commons, and as all amendments added in the House of Lords were accepted, it will not be required to go back to the Lords. The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales will take place in summer 2014.
Yay! It was only a formality that Queen Elizabeth would approve the bill but still, it’s wonderful that Royal Assent was given and same-sex marriage is now officially legal in England. I can’t say I’m crazy about the fact that couples will have to wait until the Summer of 2014 to start getting married but nonetheless, this is happy, happy news! Congrats England, very well done!