After the long wait, lawmakers in Britain have passed a bill which legalizes same-sex marriages in England and Wales. This latest development paves the way for the first gay weddings in 2014. It was decided by the House of Commons lawmakers not to oppose a number of minor amendments to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which was proposed by the House of Lords, which is the upper chamber of parliament.
The legislation is expected to receive official assent from Queen Elizabeth II later this week. The members of parliament have agreed to changes, one of them being to ensure protections for transgender couples. After the news broke out, transgender couples danced outside parliament as the government-backed bill passed unopposed through the House of Lords.
A spokesperson for the culture ministry, which is overseeing the new law, stated that the bill will probably receive royal assent later on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 or Thursday, July 18, 2013. The spokesperson went on to say, ?But we are looking at seeing the first gay weddings in the middle of 2014 because there are various issues to sort out, such as its impact on pensions?.
The bill experienced a stormy passage through parliament, as dozens of members of Prime Minister David Cameron?s own Conservative Party voted against it.