The margin of victory in the House of Commons ended up being 225. Members of the British Parliament approved same-sex marriage for England and Wales 400 to 175 at the end of a full day of debate. Prime Minister David Cameron called in an important step forward in the strengthening of society. This was, however, the first reading. There is still more legislating to go.
136 Conservative MP’s voted against it while 127 Tories voted in favor, 35 did not vote, and five voted both for and against, thus voting abstention. Junior Justice Minister Helen Grant stated “As Tories we do differ at times. We have squabbles – we’re like any other family.” Still, she felt that the legislation was “a major step forward for equality and justice”.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, stated “I genuinely believe that we will look back on today as a landmark for equality in Britain. Tonight’s vote shows Parliament is very strongly in favour of equal marriage. No matter who you are and who you love, we are all equal. Marriage is about love and commitment, and it should no longer be denied to people just because they are gay. The Liberal Democrats have long fought for equal marriage. It is party policy and I am proud that the Liberal Democrats are part of the coalition government that are making it happen.”
The MP’s were given the go ahead to vote their conscience on the bill rather than being told how to vote by their party whips.
Opposition leader Ed Miliband said that “This is a proud day and an important step forward in the fight for equality in Britain. The overwhelming majority of Labour MPs supported this change to make sure marriage reflects the value we place on long-term, loving relationships whoever you love. Equal marriage builds on Labour’s successes in government which include the repeal of Section 28, equalising the age of consent, the introduction of civil partnerships and changes to the rules governing adoption.”
Still, the legislation has to pass the House of Lords, which may be more difficult.