The Two-Way
11:46 am
Tue February 5, 2013

British House Of Commons Passes Bill Legalizing Gay Marriage

By an overwhelming majority, the British House of Commons passed a bill that legalizes gay marriage. The bill is expected to become law because it is supported by Prime Minister David Cameron.

The House passed the bill with a vote of 400 to 175.

The CBC reports:

"Same-sex civil partnerships have been allowed in the U.K. for eight years. One of the more high-profile unions is between musician Elton John and his Canadian partner, David Furnish.

"The bill would allow same-sex couples to get married in a town hall or a church, but would exclude clergy in the Church of England — the country's official faith — from having to carry out the ceremonies.

"The bill allows for other religious groups that wish to conduct same-sex ceremonies — such as Quakers and liberal Jews — to do so if their governing bodies approve."

The BBC reports that Cameron described the move as "an important step forward."

The chief executive of Stonewall, an LGBT rights group, said in a statement that they anticipate a tough battle in the House of Lords.

"Happily, the size of the Commons majority seen tonight – much larger than for most normal Government business – will make it very difficult for peers to suggest that the Bill should be rejected," Ben Summerskill said.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.