Yesterday’s vote on gay marriage in the British Parliament, which we wrote about here, was passed by an overwhelming majority. It was supported by 400 MPs and opposed by just 175 MPs. Of those 175 opponents, 136 were members of the Conservative party. This means that, although Cameron and other senior Tories championed the bill and worked hard to rally party votes in favour, more Conservative MPs voted against the bill than in favour (only 127 voted in favour, with a further 35 abstaining from the vote).
I am a strong believer in marriage. It helps people commit to each other and I think it is right that gay people should be able to get married too… This is, yes, about equality. But it is also about making our society stronger.
Though more debates and a vote in the House of Lords is needed before the bill can become law, this is a big step in paving the way for same sex couples in England and Wales to marry in civil and religious ceremonies (where the religions are open to this) in the near future. The new provision for same sex couples would not be effective in Northern Ireland.
Elsewhere, legislation is progressing through the Assembly in Paris which, if passed in full, would make marriage a gender neutral institution in France. At home, on April 13th and 14th this year the Constitutional Convention will discuss the provision for same sex marriage in the Republic of Ireland.