- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Gay marriage became legal Wednesday in England and Wales after Queen Elizabeth II signed a bill approved earlier this week by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, The Associated Press reported.

Under the new law, gays will be able to join together in civil ceremonies or in church services. Same-sex couples are already preparing their unions for this summer, The Inquisitr reported.

Prime Minister David Cameron backed the bill, to the consternation of many in his own Conservative Party. Liberal Democrats and Labour Party officials also supported the measure. But Mr. Cameron took a big political hit, and some say his liberal leanings on the issue won’t serve him well at the next election.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said of the bill, after it passed both houses of Parliament: “The title of this bill might be ‘marriage,’ but its fabric is about freedom and respect. Freedom to marry regardless of sexuality or gender, but also freedom to believe that marriage should be of one man and one woman, and not be marginalized,” Reuters reported.

Prior to the law, England allowed civil partnerships for gays, but gay activists said that wasn’t good enough — that it created the image that gays were somehow inferior to heterosexuals.

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