UK House of Lords Passes Gay Marriage Bill

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Tuesday June 4, 2013

The United Kingdom's House of Lords approved a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in a voice vote, the British newspaper the Guardian reports.

"The Lords voted by 390 votes to 148 to reject an attempt by Lord Dear, a crossbencher, to defeat the bill at second reading," the newspaper writes. "It is very unusual for the Lords to block a bill at second reading and some peers may have been voting against Dear because they were opposed to the idea of the Lords trying to obstruct legislation in this way, not because they were great supporters of the bill."

The Guardian also points out the because the measure passed by such a large margin, the bill "must now be certain to become law." But it is likely those against the gay marriage bill will still try to amend it, hoping to strengthen the protections for churches who do not want to hold same-sex ceremonies.

Lady Stowell, a government whip, told lawmakers that the government may not object to the religious amendments.

The bill will now move on to the Committee stage in the House of Lords. After that, it must clear two more levels in the House of Lords before going to the Consideration of Amendments and Royal Assent.

LGBT groups flocked to Twitter shortly after the passage of the bill and expressed their excitement that gay marriage in the UK may soon become a reality.

"The #EqualMarriage Bill has now passed the 2nd Reading in the Lords and is now free to pass to Committee Stage! Hooray!," @LGBToryUK wrote.

"Lords decide vote on wrecking amendment was so big they're not voting on the 2nd Reading! #equalmarriage PASSES!" @LGBTLabour tweeted.