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

Turkey talk: Kindergartners explain the Thanksgiving holiday

Our annual pilgrimage led us this year to Pathfinder Kindergarten Center in Everett.

Police locate suspect in Snohomish River after he fled

They used a thermal-imaging camera to locate the man in the water near Dagmars Marina.

Electrical fire on roof of Marysville school extinguished

There was no apparent structural damage to Cascade Elementary School.

As police closed in, 2 heavily armed pot-shop robbers fled

Cops surrounded the place in Mountlake Terrace. The suspects were tracked by dogs and apprehended nearby.

Hiker rescued on Boulder River trail after 15-foot fall

She was reported to have possible leg and rib fractures.

Alleged philanderer attacked with hammer near Everett

His girlfriend had accused him of cheating and allegedly called on another man to confront him.

State waging war with tenacious ivy, an invasive ‘bully’

The public is being asked to help with a study by collecting and sending in samples.

Plans being developed for surplus school land

Two major projects could be built on properties owned by the Edmonds School District.

Most Read