Published on February 6, 2013 | by Billie-Jade Thomas

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MPs back same-sex marriage despite Tory rebellion

A demonstrator at a gay rights march

The same-sex marriage bill now  passes to next stage of legislative process. [Tamara Craiu]

The bill giving same-sex couples equal rights to marriage has been approved in principle by the House of Commons.

In what has been hailed as an historic step by campaigners, MPs voted for the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill by 400 votes to 175.

Despite having a majority of 225 votes in favour of the bill, there was opposition from more than half of Conservative MPs.

In response to the vote, Prime Minister David Cameron, who earlier said that the bill would make “society stronger”, tweeted: “Strong views exist on both sides but I believe MPs voting for gay people being able to marry too, is a step forward for our country.”

The proposed legislation will now receive more detailed parliamentary scrutiny by both MPs and the House of Lords before it can be enacted.

Religious provision

The bill proposes that same-sex marriage should be legalised in both civil and religious ceremonies – providing religious institutions give their consent.

Earlier this month legal advice given to Cameron warned that those institutions refusing to perform same-sex marriages could be sued, the London Evening Standard reported.

“MPs voting for gay people being able to marry is a step forward for our country.” Prime Minister, David Cameron

The bill will also allow couples who have entered into a civil partnership to convert their relationship into a marriage.

Callum Smith, 21, a BA Media Practice student at the London College of Communications spoke to Arts London News about Tuesday’s vote in the Commons.

He said: “In terms of moving for equality it’s great seeing as we [same sex couples] weren’t allowed to share a hotel room not so long ago,” he said.

Smith also spoke of the flaws in the bill: “It is pretty backhanded that it’s at the discretion of the church because that just gives them the right for individual prejudice,” he added.

Pride in equality

Labour leader Ed Miliband said it was a “proud day” in the fight for equality.

“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.

“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.” Labour leader, Ed Miliband

“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,” he said.

Voting lists reveal 136 Conservative MPs voted against the bill, with 40 abstentions, whilst 127 voted in favour.

The bill was backed by a large majority of Labour MPs as 217 voted in favour of the bill, with only 22 opposing.

44 Liberal Democrats voted in favour of the bill, while four voted against.

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