Britain's House of Commons has voted to legalize gay marriage in England and Wales. British MPs approved the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill by 366 votes to 161.
The bill will move onto the House of Lords, where it is expected
to face opposition.
Several Tory MPs spoke out against the bill, which has caused tensions within the party. The Labour and Liberal Democrat leaderships backed the bill.
The latest YouGov poll for the Sunday Times found that 54% of
Britons support “changing the law to allow same-sex couples to
marry,” with over 53,000 civil partnership ceremonies have been
carried out since their introduction in December 2005.
Conversely, only 45% of Tory supporters are in favor of changing the law and 48% oppose it, the survey showed.
British Prime Minister David Cameron hopes the bill will soon be enacted into law, with the first marriage ceremonies taking place by next summer.
Cameron is eager to force the bill's passage, in attempts to
display his party’s liberal and progressive side, particularly
following spending cuts and a lurch to the right on immigration
policy, which a number of parties are pursuing following a recent
surge in the UK Independence Party's popularity.
Grassroots conservatives have voiced opposition at Cameron and the bill, with conservative co-chairman Lord Feldman reportedly calling activists "mad, swivel-eyed loons."
Britain isn't the only country dealing with tensions surrounding
equal rights for homosexuals. Earlier Tuesday, a French writer
committed suicide in Notre Dame Cathedral after
speaking out against France's recent legalization of gay marriage
and adoption. Thousands of protesters took to the streets in the
lead-up to the bill's approval.
Just four days ago, Orthodox anti-gay activists in Georgia
broke through police cordons to reach gay rights
advocates on the International Day Against Homophobia. Twenty-eight
people were injured in the clashes.
Last week, Russian authorities turned down requests to hold a gay pride parade on May
25 and a gay rights rally on May 26 in Moscow.