Same-sex marriage has been legalised in England and Wales after receiving the Queen’s royal stamp of approval.
Legislation to introduce same-sex marriage is expected to complete its passage through the House of Commons today, paving the way for the first gay weddings in England and Wales next summer.
Jubilant gay rights campaigners were last night celebrating the succesful passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill through the House of Lords – and vowing to take the fight for marriage equality to Scotland and Northern Ireland.
MPs will this evening debate amendments made to the legislation in the Upper House, but this is expected to be little more than a formality and is unlikely to delay its progress into law, with Royal Assent within the next few days.
The decision was greeted with cheers from MPs in the Commons as speaker John Bercow announced the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill had been granted Royal Assent.
It clears the way for same-sex weddings by next summer after the bill completed its passage through parliament last night.
The queen’s approval was a formality and was the last step necessary for the bill to become law.
It will allow gay couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies and those had previously entered into civil partnerships to convert their relationships to marriage.
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg told campaigners that the new law would ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people felt ‘recognised and valued, not excluded’.
David Cameron had also backed the bill, which was introduced by the government in January, despite opposition from his party.
The Coalition for Marriage campaign group warned that the reform could ‘come back to bite’ the prime minister.
Chairman Colin Hart said: ‘Mr Cameron needs to remember that the Coalition for Marriage has nearly 700,000 supporters, nearly six times the number of members of the Conservative party.
‘They are just ordinary men and women, not part of the ruling elite.
‘They are passionate, motivated and determined to fight on against a law that renders terms like husband and wife meaningless and threatens one of the foundations of the institution of marriage.’
Conservative MP Sir Gerald Howarth, one of the bill’s opponents said he was ‘astonished’ the bill had got through.
He said it was a bill for which there is ‘absolutely no mandate, against which a majority of Conservatives voted, has been bulldozed through both Houses’.
He added: ‘I think the government should think very carefully in future if they want the support of these benches.
‘Offending large swathes of the Conservative party is not a good way of going about it.’
source: metro news