LONDON – On Tuesday, British lawmakers approved a bill that has made same-sex marriage one step closer. The legislation was voted with an overwheling majority – 400 to 175 – but the bill needs to go through parliamentary debates and be approved by the House of Lords before it becomes law.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the bill will enable same sex-couples to marry in both civil and religious cerimonies by 2015. The religious cerimony, though, will still be subject to the religious institutions consent. “Tonight’s vote shows Parliament is very strongly in favor of equal marriage,” Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said. “I genuinely believe that we will look back on today as a landmark for equality in Britain.”
The lopsided vote was a qualified victory for Cameron, with around half of his party’s lawmakers rejecting the proposals or abstaining. Nonetheless, strong support from the left-leaning Labour Party and Liberal Democrats party ensured the Commons approval. After the ballots were counted, Cameron acknowledged that “strong views exist on both sides,” but said the result was a “step forward for our country.”