In the first of several votes required for its passage, the Britain’s parliament voted heavily (400 to 175) in favor of legalizing gay marriage.
The Associated Press reports:
A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Britain cleared a major hurdle Tuesday, as lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposals championed by Prime Minister David Cameron.
The vote in the House of Commons ? 400 to 175 in support of the proposed legislation ? will be followed by more detailed parliamentary debates. The proposals also require the approval of the House of Lords before they become law.
The process could take months, but if approved, the bill is expected to take effect in 2015 and enable same-sex couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies, provided the religious institution consents. The bill also lets couples who had previously entered into civil partnerships convert their relationship into a marriage.
“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.
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