Party leaders hail gay marriage vote
Prime Minister David Cameron and party leaders at Westminster have praised the significance of the backing for same-sex marriage in England and Wales after a key Commons vote.
Cameron said the vote on Tuesday had been “an important step forward” and Labour leader Ed Miliband called it a “proud day”.
MPs voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill by 400 to 175, a majority of 225.
Voting lists show that 136 Conservatives – almost half of the party’s MPs – opposed the bill.
This figure included two cabinet ministers – Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and Welsh Secretary David Jones – eight junior ministers, and eight whips.
MPs were given a free vote on the bill, meaning they were not ordered to vote a particular way by party whips.
Their decision to back the bill is a milestone for gay couples all over the country. The legislation will now receive more detailed parliamentary scrutiny.
If it becomes law, the bill will enable same-sex couples, who are currently able to engage in civil partnerships, to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies -with the consent of religious institutions.
Tuesday’s vote was a big moment but it has got further stages to pass in the parliamentary process.
Some think the vote has challenged David Cameron’s authority leaving disaffected tory members in his party, possibly weakening his leadership but the Prime Minister has openly admitted that he thinks marriage should be open to all and defines the passing of the gay marriage bill as a defining moment in his modernising mission.