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U.K. Marriage Equality Bill Advances

By Trudy Ring

The United Kingdom moved a step closer to marriage equality today, with the House of Commons voting 400-175 for a bill extending marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The measure must go through more parliamentary debates and a vote in the House of Lords before becoming law, but the House of Lords is likely to approve it, given the strong support in the House of Commons, the Associated Press reports. If approved, the law would take effect in 2015, giving same-sex couples access to both civil and religious marriage, as long as the religious body does not object. Also, couples in civil partnerships would be able to convert their union to a marriage.

Marriage equality has the backing of Prime Minister David Cameron, who said before today’s House of Commons debate, “I am a strong believer in marriage. It helps people commit to each other, and I think it is right that gay people should be able to get married too. This is, yes, about equality. But it is also about making our society stronger.”

In the House of Commons, most of the resistance to the bill came from members of the Conservative Party, even though that is Cameron’s party. Conservative lawmaker Roger Gale invoked works of literature in stating his opposition, saying, “Marriage is the union between a man and a woman, has been historically, remains so. It is Alice in Wonderland territory, Orwellian almost, for any government of any political persuasion to seek to come along and try to rewrite the lexicon.”

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