England legalizes gay marriage

UPDATE: The Queen has given her assent (a required formality) after parliament passed a law legalizing gay marriage yesterday. That means England (and Wales) have just legalized gay marriage.  Same-sex weddings are expected to begin in 2014.

A rather odd clarification from the BBC:

Under the terms of the the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, religious organisations will have to “opt in” to offering weddings, with the Church of England and Church in Wales being banned in law from doing so.

The Church of England wanted parliament to ban it from ever choosing to conduct gay weddings?  How messed up is that?  I do love how desperate the church is, and how desperate church-y members of Parliament are, that they’re willing to establish the precedent of Parliament telling the church what it can and can’t do.  God forbid, the Church of England decide on its own some day what is and isn’t God’s will without the stamp of approval of Parliament.

I’m not opposed to necessary concessions.  But how messed up is it that Parliament is banning the church from recognizing what it determines to get God’s will.  The Church of England has posted an “explanation” of how this isn’t anything unusual.  As a lawyer myself, this reads like a bunch of bs.

Gay marriage legislation passed the British House of Lords today, after having previously passed the House of Commons, which means.

According to the BBC, that means the law should be passed by the end of this week (after another technical vote in the House of Commons), leaving only the Queen’s assent.

Gay weddings are expected to start in 2014.

Equal marriage supporters at a Stonewall rally outside the House of Lords as peers gave the Bill Third Reading on 15 July. (Photo credit: SIMON CALLAGHAN.)

Equal marriage supporters at a Stonewall rally outside the House of Lords as they gave the Bill Third Reading on 15 July.
(Photo credit: SIMON CALLAGHAN.)

More from Stonewall UK, one of the large gay rights groups leading the fight on marriage:

Subject to consideration of amendments in the House of Commons — a technicality, as the Bill made it through the Lords without any material amendments — the Bill will now receive Royal Assent and become law.

Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill said: “It’s impossible to express how much joy this historic step will bring to tens of thousands of gay people and their families and friends. The Bill’s progress through Parliament shows that, at last, the majority of politicians in both Houses understand the public’s support for equality — though it’s also reminded us that gay people still have powerful opponents.

Here are the countries that have, or soon will have, gay marriage nationwide or in parts of the country:

  1. Argentina
  2. Belgium
  3. Canada
  4. Denmark
  5. Iceland
  6. Netherlands
  7. Norway
  8. Portugal
  9. Spain
  10. South Africa
  11. Sweden
  12. Brazil (parts)
  13. Mexico (one state and the capital)
  14. US (some states)
  15. France
  16. Uruguay
  17. New Zealand
  18. England and Wales – marriages should start in 2014.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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74 Responses to “England legalizes gay marriage”

  1. TampaZeke says:

    They may have officially started the process before England and Wales but since it hasn’t even been presented to the Scottish Parliament for it’s first reading, which won’t happen for a few more months, I stand by my statement that they’ve just started the process.

  2. MyrddinWilt says:

    What came after the Borgias were the true believers. And they provoked a war that ultimately caused the death of a third to half the population in Europe.

    They were still corrupt but in a different way. And the effects were much worse.

  3. sane37 says:

    I see the Church ban as an effort by the UK Government to destroy the Church.
    Since more young people support marriage equality, this decision allows the Church to die out in a couple of generations.
    Let reason prevail!

  4. rmthunter says:

    Henry’s marriage to Catherine was the pretext. The issue was really who was going to be the supreme power in England, the king or the pope. It’s a scenario that played itself out in the Holy Roman Empire as well, leading to the Emperor at one point invading Italy and essentially putting the pope under house arrest.

  5. rmthunter says:

    I suspect the Church ban is Cameron getting back at the CofE for its opposition — CofE is the established church, and seems to be subject to a certain amount of regulation. The Church’s initial reaction was unalloyed opposition, and then some bishops, and the Church in Wales (which is not established), said maybe they would be willing. Cameron threw it right back at the Archbishop of Canterbury, who now is going to have to deal with dissension in the ranks.

  6. qivucuzusywa says:

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kkEj

    If Britain can do it with the Conservative Party in power, Germany
    should be able to do it with the Christian Democrats in power. Not that I
    wouldn’t prefer the Labour Party in Britain and the Social Democrats in
    Germany, but progressives have to work with what they have right now,
    and they’ve done so successfully in Britain.

  7. Bill_Perdue says:

    The DUP in English occupied northeast Ireland is an extremely chauvinist right wing party with close ties to ultrarightists all over Europe. They’re one step away from being out and out fascists.

  8. Bill_Perdue says:

    Religion is just a cover for the fighting between classes and between nationalities.

    The English invaded Ireland and have used horrific ethnic cleansing methods there for centuries.

    The fighting there won’t be over until the English get out and the English and Scot colonists are forced to end their apartheid rule and become citizens of a united, independent Ireland.

    Support for the roman cult is at an all time low in the Republic but I’ve seen no polling on the subject in the occupied territories.

  9. Thom Allen says:

    Congrats! That’s really cool.

  10. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Congratulations young man.

  11. karmanot says:

    Thanks everybody

  12. nicho says:

    And another minor correction. I’m pretty sure Colombia doesn’t have a SCOTUS, since that refers to Supreme Court of the United States.

  13. Bill_Perdue says:

    Good for them.

    To get real equality though they’ll have to disestablish the anglican cult, become a republic and confiscate the wealth of the royals and aristos, make it easy for Scotland and Wales to become independent states, get the hell out of Ireland and enlarge Parliament.

    For starters.

  14. Indigo says:

    That’s fine. If it weren’t a muddy and ambiguously worded law with loopholes for the aristocracy and exceptions for the fabulously wealthy, it wouldn’t be a genuinely British law, now would it? The CofE will does as it always does and fumble the ball whilst mumbling in an undertone that can be taken to mean whatever the listener assumes it might mean. Harumph!

  15. BeccaM says:

    Thanks for the suggestion… but no.

    The lyrics’ narrative doesn’t reflect how my wife and I met, and more to the point, I’m done with referring to her as my ‘partner.’

  16. dcinsider says:

    I know, I hated myself for writing it. :)

  17. nicho says:

    The Borgia papacy wasn’t particularly corrupt — at least not in comparison to others. Borgia is only portrayed as notoriously corrupt because (a) he wasn’t Roman and (b) his enemies, members of the stunningly corrupt ruling families of Rome, got to write the history. The whole history of the papacy is just a saga of corruption. These were not saintly people — right down to the anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi Pius XII, the Vatican forces who assassinated John Paul I, and the Wotyla/Ratzinger cabal, which was about as corrupt as it gets. And, the saga continues with the faux reformer Francis.

  18. MyrddinWilt says:

    The break took place in stages.

    Henry VIII only broke from the Church of Rome. He was not ‘Protestant’ according to any modern understanding. In 1520 the Roman Papacy was a recent creation, having only returned from the Avignon captivity 140 years earlier. The papacy itself was attempting to recover from the corrupt Borgia papacy by building a stupendous palace for the Pope that was bankrupting Northern Europe with the sales of indulgences.

    The break only really became final under Henry’s eldest daughter bloody Mary. The persecution of Protestants under Mary convinced the establishment that the break with Rome was going to be final. Elizabeth I lived under threat of execution as an inconvenience during Mary’s reign. Had Mary had an heir, there would have been the potential for another Lady Jane Grey situation.

    It is very similar to the abolition of slavery in the US. Lincoln did not plan to issue an emancipation decree the moment he took office. The expectation was that there would be action that fell far short of emancipation. It was the treason of the Southern states and the attack on the federal forces that turned the North absolutist on abolition.

    Later on the persecution of the Huguenots in France, the Spanish inquisition and the Bloody assizes in the wake of the Monmouth rebellion are the reason the split became final and unalterable.

  19. EdHandy says:

    Male-line succession was a more important issue than wandering sexual appetites.

  20. Yawn says:

    The Church of England and Church of Wales can recognise ssm, they just can’t legally perform them. They need to petition the gov’t to allow them to do so in the future. It’s important to note that these concessions were included from the very start with the introduction of this bill from the conservative-led government and many in the Churches in England and Wales protested being disallowed. Remember there are hundreds of years of interwoven laws between the government, the monarchy, and the church leading to bizarre and archaic events (such as outdoor weddings being illegal in England). We also need to let straight people have civil partnerships as in France, because soon in E&W same sex couples will have more options than straight couples.

  21. Monoceros Forth says:

    Um, no. I’m thinking Brian May’s version of the Wedding March.

  22. Monoceros Forth says:

    I know. A pawn in Cromwell’s political gamesmanship. At least she got out of it alive. I’d say “poor Cromwell” too because the Anne of Cleves affair got him killed but he was such a snake it’s hard to feel much sympathy.

  23. nicho says:

    Poor Anne of Cleves.

  24. nicho says:

    Yeah, maybe not.

  25. nicho says:

    I hate myself for laughing at this. By all accounts, Camilla is a really nice person.

  26. Dave of the Jungle says:

    heh heh heh…

  27. Ron Robertson says:

    Just a minor correction, the country in SA is COLOMBIA (note the second “O”). It’s a common mistake. My partner is Colombian, so now I notice that all the time.

  28. Monoceros Forth says:

    Ah, reminds me of something by the way:


  29. karmanot says:

    deliciously wicked!

  30. nicho says:

    Yeah, you’re right. Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived.

    Sexual appetites were one thing, but that could have been taken care of with an array of mistresses — not uncommon. Henry’s desire to marry multiple women was about Henry’s dread that he would die without a male heir. He was convinced that a woman couldn’t hold the kingdom together. And it was a legitimate fear — seeing how his father had come to gain the throne through violence, and there were powerful forces trying to unseat him.

    Ironic that it was the pope’s desire/need to suck up to Spain that forced Henry’s hand. Had the pope not had these political concerns, he would have most certainly given Henry the annulment he sought. So, the pope really caused the break.

  31. Koko Loko says:


  32. Monoceros Forth says:

    Catherine of Aragon wasn’t killed :p Anne Boleyn, on the other hand…

  33. Thomas Thurman says:

    You misunderstand. The Church of England’s canon law is part of the law of the land, because the Church of England is the established church. But for reasons of separation of church and state, Parliament has delegated the right to make laws concerning the Church of England to the general synod of the Church of England itself, similarly to the way in which it has delegated the right to make laws concerning Scotland to the Scottish parliament. Because of this, Parliament will not make laws concerning the Church of England; that is for the Church of England to do. So it was illegal for the Church of England to perform same-sex weddings before this law passed, and it remains illegal after; if some day (and I hope to God that day comes soon) the Church of England decides to change this law to allow itself to perform same-sex marriages, then it will be able to. See the Church of England’s own explanation of this here: http://www.churchofengland.org/our-views/marriage,-family-and-sexuality-issues/same-sex-marriage/same-sex-marriage-and-the-church-of-england-an-explanatory-note.aspx

  34. nicho says:

    Odd stance for a church that was founded so a king could murder his wife and marry someone else, and someone else, and someone else, and someone else.

  35. Coemgenus says:

    The place is crawling with religious loonies – good job it is a separate “AND NORTHERN IRELAND” constitutionally – which is why it can get away with a bizarre legal system and disregard for Human Rights.

  36. REALrenovato says:

    Scotland started the process before England and Wales, The Same sex marriage bill has already been published in the Scottish Parliament and is at present with the Parliaments Equal Opportunities Comittee, Two thirds of the Parliaments members have already indicated they will vote for the Bill, ( there are 21 hold outs) of the 129 members. Should be passed into law by early next year.

  37. REALrenovato says:

    I think the quote is – if you can get people to believe in absurdities you can get them to commit atrocities.

  38. jayjonson says:

    Commons just passed the bill as amended by the Lords. It now goes to Queen Elizabeth II for the royal assent. Then it is law. However, because it affects many other laws, it cannot be implemented until numerous regulations are put into effect. (These regulations do not require votes.) It is expected that the first same-sex marriages will be performed in the summer of 2014, but it is possible that they could be performed earlier.

  39. pat says:

    As point out by many commenters, this list is wrong!
    – Brazil is already legal nationwide.
    – France is already legal (weddings started at the end of May)
    – Uruguay starts on August 1st!
    – You forgot New Zealand, which starts on August 19th!
    Colombia is indeed still up in the air for now…

  40. sJames6621 says:

    cheers to you. BTW during pride last month we had an 18 couple marriage by the mayor of Baltimore, Stephany Rawlings Blake – at the event on a sunday

  41. sJames6621 says:

    I hope everyone knows t that its a wierd thing how Enland and wales have to be together on this type of issue while scotland acts like an independent nation on same.

  42. sJames6621 says:

    christian democrats re gays is an oxymoron. Social democrats are good people there.

    One good thing about germany (and Israel) they do have hate speech laws in both countries.

  43. sJames6621 says:

    Religion is just another way to isolate and label people. Then comes the hate and even murders.

    Good people do good things, bad people do bad thiings

    But religion can get good people o do bad things.

  44. sJames6621 says:

    Columbia had its first same ssx marriage a couple dayss ago – about July 10, prer their scotus’s ruling in 2011 (unanimous) that gays get equal marriage rights.

    It is still confusing because the court seems to have said “equal rights”, not marriage. We shall see on this one.. Another commentator or the article said only a couple mexican states- the issue is that one has to go to Mex cty of a couple other mex states to get married , but like the USA re str8 peoople, every state in Mex must recognize those marriages – gay or str8 regardless of where they were done.

    So in catholic latin America Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Uruguay have marriage equality. Ecuador has CU’s

    Chile will prob be next, most likely with CUs first

    The catholic churcch has dug its own grave over gay people, as he world looks forwards , not backwards to mankinds generally horrible history on most fronts.

  45. sJames6621 says:

    nd shame on us- the USA was also the second to last nation in the west to end slavery, the only one to need a war to do so, and hten came segregation for a hundred more years

    All thanks to the bibile thumpers who believed that “a slave shall obey his master”

    BTW I dont know about other countries but it wasnt until 1967 that scotus trashed the last 116 of at one time 41 states that had laws banning inter-racial marriage. Laws justified as protecting the sanctity of the white race

  46. Stev84 says:

    Not exactly. The court ruled that gay couples have to have all the same rights as married couples. But it left open how to accomplish that. The parliament did nothing, so it’s now up to lower judges on how to interpret that. One of them has granted a marriage, but it’s not a universal thing.

    The existing status is also more similar to common law marriage or de facto partnerships. After people have lived together for two years they have the same rights as a married couple, without formalizing anything.

  47. tonitia says:

    “Partners For Life” by Jimmy Roland MUST be played at your wedding ceremony. listed in 6/26/13 edition as one of the TOP 34 Pride Anthems of 2013.

    HuffPost: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/gay-pride-anthems-2013_n_3497134.html

    Available on iTunes

  48. wayne says:

    ….how “revolutionary” when compared with the United States…..

  49. cole3244 says:

    although we talk liberty and freedom we are a disgrace when it comes to most issues relating to those.

  50. dcinsider says:

    Now, finally, the marriage of Camilla and Charles will be legal.

  51. Jordan Petersen says:

    There wouldn’t have been so many wars for the history books either.

  52. Jordan Petersen says:

    They’re too busy having a religious war between the protestants and catholics filled with hate and violence. Typical religious things you know, not enough room for love and prosperity.

  53. Jordan Petersen says:

    Brazil isn’t “parts” it’s nationwide. High Court ruled it.
    You forgot New Zealand. Columbia is still in limbo as well as Costa Rica.

    Australia, Finland and Germany aren’t far behind either.

  54. samizdat says:

    Mazel tov, to the both of you! Couldn’t happen to better people.

  55. Ron Robertson says:

    If I’m not mistaken, Colombia now has Gay marriage too. Their supreme ruled that people can change their civil unions into full marriages (or something like that). They’ve allowed gays in the military for many years now, too.

  56. UncleBucky says:

    Better together than apart, eh? ;o)

  57. UncleBucky says:

    Yeah, what is it with Northern Ireland anyway?

    Oh, yeah, the same thing with the US, since many reactionary USers came from Northern Ireland. Oh, well. Sooner or later the reactionaries will die off.

  58. ctdawg says:

    Your list should include New Zealand. Kiwis have gay marriage now.

  59. BeccaM says:


    Er… I hope he accepted, yes?

  60. vergil arma says:

    and they did it without exposing their lgbt citizens to endless months of vicious homophobic demonstrations the way the french did. france has come off looking quite reactionary and anti-gay after this episode. claiming to be le pays des lumieres is as much a self-serving myth for france as american exceptionalism is for the us.

  61. karmanot says:

    After twenty years I proposed last week.

  62. TampaZeke says:

    I didn’t see your comment before I posted mine. I guess it bears repeating.

  63. TampaZeke says:

    Not the UK. Only England and Wales. Scotland is starting the process now and Northern Ireland won’t be happening anytime soon.

  64. nicho says:

    It should be noted that while same-sex marriage is allowed in some US states, there are very specific anti-equality hate laws in many others. The US is still a disgrace.

  65. nicho says:

    It wasn’t their stay to reinstate. The stay had been imposed by the 9th Circuit. This was a frivolous lawsuit designed only to let the anti-gay charlatans swindle more money out of the suckers.

  66. That is so nice. We will be there with you in spirit.

  67. FLL says:

    The modern gay rights movement began in Berlin during the 1890s and reached a level of clout unparalleled anywhere in the world during the Weimar Republic of the 1920s. Germany needs to be next to sign on to marriage equality, if only because of its status as the cradle of the gay rights movement. Most current polls indicate that public support for marriage equality is around 74% in Germany, higher than Britain or France and one of the highest percentages of support in Europe.

    If Britain can do it with the Conservative Party in power, Germany should be able to do it with the Christian Democrats in power. Not that I wouldn’t prefer the Labour Party in Britain and the Social Democrats in Germany, but progressives have to work with what they have right now, and they’ve done so successfully in Britain.

  68. BeccaM says:

    That’s good to hear. Thanks for passing the news along.

    Looks like the plans my wife and I have for an August re-re-re-wedding are on.

  69. Julien Pierre says:

    The first same-sex marriage in France was on May 29, which was technically in Spring.

  70. cole3244 says:

    take away the bible, koran, and other books of lies and this wouldn’t be such a hot button issue.

  71. S1AMER says:

    Correction: The coming law will pertain only in England and Wales. Scotland is in the early stages of working on its own law. Northern Ireland still lags far behind. Thus, you can’t list the “United Kingdom” in the enlightened column just yet, only England and Wales.

  72. karmanot says:


  73. Mike_in_Houston says:

    And in other good news, the California Supreme Court has refused to reinstate the stay on same-sex marriages:


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