With Queen Elizabeth’s royal assent in place Britain now has legal marriage equality for same-sex couples.
Parliament had passed the measure on Tuesday, the Queen’s stamp of approval (also known as royal assent) was simply a formality. The law, which had the backing of House of Commons Speaker John Bercow as well as Prime Minister David Cameron enables gay couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies in England and Wales,
(the Church of England is barred from conducting same-sex unions). Couples who are currently in a civil union can also convert their union into a marriage.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told supporters that the new law would ensure LGBT people felt “recognized and valued, not excluded. Extending marriage to same sex couples changes nothing in respect of freedom of speech … this is why further changes to the law are not necessary and could indeed be harmful, by casting doubts where non currently exist.”
Maria Miller, the UK Culture Minister said, “The title of this bill might be marriage but its fabric is about freedom and respect, freedom to marry regardless of sexuality or gender, but also freedom to believe that marriage should be of one man and woman and not be marginalized.” It is “clear affirmation that as a nation respect for each and every individual is paramount, regardless of ages, religion, gender, ethnicity and sexuality,” she continued..
The first same-sex marriages are expected to take place next summer.
The author is solely responsible for the content.