The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has passed the final reading in the House of Lords, and after some clearing up in the House of Commons, will go to Queen Elizabeth II to be signed into law
History is made as marriage equality has passed the final vote for England and Wales.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill passed in the House of Lords without a vote.
Peers in favor of same-sex marriage wore pink carnations as a symbol of their support.
Before the vote, one of the lead backers of the bill and openly gay Lord Alli gave a moving and passionate speech.
‘You have given me equality where there was sometimes prejudice,’ he said. ‘My life will be better today than yesterday.’
An amendment to ensure pension rights review was added to the equal marriage bill in the final moments, leading Baroness Stowell to say the Lords had done a ‘good job’.
An equal marriage vigil took place outside Britain’s House of Parliament with several hundred supporters celebrating as the results was announced.
Radio and TV presenter Paul Gambaccini, at the vigil, entered into a civil partnership with his partner in the UK and got married on 30 June in New York last year.
Speaking to GSN, he said: ‘We are waiting for an upgrade. For the best of knowledge we are normal and we would like to be as normal as any heterosexual.
‘This day fills me with joy because when the gay liberation movement began in the late 1960s, we could not have dreamed it would have got as far as we have so quickly.’
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, Britain’s leading gay campaigning organization, attended the celebration wearing a full suit and top hat.
Calling it a ‘historic day’, he told GSN: ‘I am not sure I ever expected to see this in the next 20 years let alone by 2013.
‘The reason so many people are here is they are so grateful to members of the House of Lords of all parties for making this possible.’
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: ‘This vote is a defeat for discrimination and a victory for love and marriage.
‘After a 21-year-long campaign, we are now on the cusp of same-sex marriage but not quite marriage equality.
‘Ending discrimination against same-sex couples in marriage law will overturn the last major legal discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Britain.
‘It is of huge symbolic importance; signaling that same-sex love has social recognition, acceptance and parity.’
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) told GSN there will need to be a ‘clearing up’ period, allowing both Houses to give their approval to small word changes and amendments.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller will introduce the amendments at 7pm in the House of Commons tomorrow (16 July).
They then said they hoped Queen Elizabeth II will be able to sign the bill into law by the end of this week.
Perhaps frustratingly, the DCMS said it could take up to a year for gay marriage to be implemented in England and Wales.
While they say it could be earlier, they said gay couples will definitely be able to officially marry by summer 2014.