With queen’s OK, Britain legalizes gay marriage

LONDON — Britain on Wednesday legalized gay marriage after Queen Elizabeth II gave her royal stamp of approval, clearing the way for the first same-sex weddings next summer.

Lawmakers cheered as House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said royal assent had been given — one day after the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in England and Wales cleared Parliament.

The queen’s approval was a formality and is the last step necessary for a bill to become law.

The law enables gay couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies in England and Wales, provided that the religious institution consents. The Church of England, the country’s official faith, is barred from performing such ceremonies.

It also will allow couples who had previously entered into civil partnerships — which were introduced in 2005 and carry similar rights and responsibilities to marriage — to convert their relationships to marriage.

The British government introduced the bill in January.

Prime Minister David Cameron had backed it, but it divided his Conservative Party and touched off strident debates in the House of Commons and House of Lords.

Numerous attempts to derail the legislation failed as it wound its way through Parliament, with traditionalists arguing it would undermine the sanctity of marriage.

On Tuesday, Conservative lawmaker Gerald Howarth accused the government of having “bulldozed” the legislation through Parliament, “offending large swatches” of his party.

But in the same debate, shadow women and equalities minister Yvette Cooper said it was the “time to celebrate and not discriminate.”

More in Local News

Mukilteo crabber missing; his boat was found at Hat Island

Frank Urbick set out Thursday morning but did not return.

Police looking for leads in case of missing Snohomish man

Henry John Groeneveld, 63, was last seen on Monday, when he said something about going to “the river.”

Separate Everett fires send man to hospital, damage boat

The man was hospitalized for smoke inhalation from the early morning fire.

Police: He made an appointment, then tried to rob the bank

A lawyer is accused of donning a fake beard and telling a teller that a gunman was outside.

Drive-by shooting reported in Marysville neighborhood

Police said there was no evidence to indicate it was targeted at a specific person or property.

Celebrating the origins of Christmas

LDS church holds annual nativity festival featuring more than 600 sets.

Trooper’s car struck when he was arresting man for DUI

She drove away but was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence and hit-and-run.

Inslee’s budget solves school funding with help from carbon

His budget would use reserves to boost education, then replenish them with a carbon tax or fee.

Man, 29, injured by shots fired at Everett thrift store

The gunfire followed an argument in the parking lot of Value Village on Evergreen Way.

Most Read