UK House of Commons Passes Gay Marriage

But bill still has to pass House of Lords to become law
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2013 9:40 AM CST
Updated Feb 5, 2013 2:02 PM CST
UK House of Commons Voting on Gay Marriage
British Prime Minister David Cameron co-chairs a meeting of the United Nations High Level Panel in Monrovia, Liberia Friday, Feb. 1, 2013.   (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

The UK's House of Commons overwhelmingly voted to pass a bill legalizing same-sex marriage today, by a vote of 400 to 175, the BBC reports. The bill allows religious organizations to conduct gay marriages if they so choose; same-sex couples to convert their civil partnerships to marriages; and married transsexual people to be legally recognized, in their acquired gender, without ending their marriages, CNN explains. But there are still a few more stages—including House of Lords approval—before the bill becomes law.

A number of conservative lawmakers voted against the bill, despite support from David Cameron. Three prominent conservative MPs urged their fellow party members to pass the bill in a letter published in the Telegraph today. "We believe that opening it up to same-sex couples will strengthen, not weaken, the institution," they wrote. "As David Cameron has said, we should support gay marriage not in spite of being Conservatives, but because we are Conservatives." (Read more gay marriage stories.)

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