On Tuesday, the United Kingdom held a vote to take the first step in legalizing same-sex marriage. All Members of Parliament (MPs) voted and the measure passed with overwhelming support, 400-175. Tweet the news: Tweet
The bill must still pass two more votes, one in the House of Commons and one in the House of Lords, but many expect that this vote will have a lasting impact because of the support it received from important political figures like David Cameron.
Cameron was responsible for marshaling large amounts of conservative support in the legislature, and was quoted as saying:
"We believe that opening it up to same-sex couples will strengthen, not weaken, the institution. We should support gay marriage not in spite of being Conservatives, but because we are Conservatives." Tweet quote: Tweet
The current version of the bill will allow religious institutions to decide whether or not they will provide services for same-sex marriages, as well as a provision that will allow same-sex couples currently in domestic partnerships to convert their domestic partnerships into marriages, affording them the same rights as all married couples.
Many religious groups in the United Kingdom do not support the legislation, including the Church of England.
While the support being offered from members of the Conservative Party has created some internal division, David Cameron has made it clear that he is committed to passing a bill that will allow same-sex couples to marry. He referred to himself "not only as someone who believes in equality but as someone who believes passionately in marriage."
In Cameron's eyes, the inclusion of same-sex couples into the institution of marriage does not weaken the institution, but in fact strengthens it.
While the bill in the United Kingdom seems likely to pass, this undoubtedly means more pressure on American lawmakers to pass legislation allowing same-sex marriage. As it currently stands, 30 states have passed constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage, but studies show that the average American would support a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry. Tweet the news: Tweet