Same Sex Marriage Bill wins crucial vote

Those campaigning for gay marriage are delighted with the results of the recent vote in the House of Commons on the gay marriage bill. MPs overwhelmingly chose to support the bill which will allow gay couples to marry, with 400 MPs voting in favour of the bill and 175 against.

This was hailed as a landmark victory. Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of Stonewall, an organisation dedicated to working for equality and justice for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals, called the vote "truly historic". The bill enables same-sex couples, who at the moment can only have civil partnerships, to get married in civil ceremonies and also in religious ones if the religious institution in question consents.

Summerskill expressed his thanks to Stonewall supporters who lobbied their MPS to express their opinions. Gay rights activists celebrated what they saw as a victory for fairness and equality, allowing thousands of same sex couples the opportunity to get married.

Labour leader Ed Miliband expressed his opinion that the victory could be seen as an important step forward in the fight for equality. Nick Clegg also commented that he believes we will all look back on this day as a landmark for equality in Britain.

David Cameron said that he was proud that the love shared by a same-sex couple will "count the same" as that of a heterosexual one. However, despite a speech in which he argued that same-sex marriage would help to strengthen society and described it as "an important step forward for the country", there was still widespread opposition from Conservative voters.

A breakdown of the Tory MPs votes showed only 126 for and 134 against with the rest absent or choosing to abstain. Some of the Tory voters who opposed the legislation included government ministers like Owen Paterson and Mike Penning. Tory MP John Glen defended his position, stating that although we should never condone homophobia, the re-definition of marriage is not, in his eyes, the way to deal with it. Others agreed that marriage should only be allowed between a man and a woman.

Downing Street tried to play down the obvious disagreement within the Conservative Party, emphasising that it was a free vote and that David Cameron respected the opinion of those MPs who did not agree with him about the issue. Only four of the 56 Liberal Democrat MPs who voted opposed the bill.


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