UK Government votes in favour of marriage equality for England and Wales

5 Feb 2013

UK Rainbow Flag

Tonight, Marriage Equality welcomed news that members of Parliament in the UK have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, opening up civil marriage to same sex couples in England and Wales.  The Bill – the result of a lengthy consultation process over the past months – was debated extensively in the House of Commons, before being passed by a margin of 400 votes to 175.

“This is a wonderful step forward for same sex couples in England and Wales, who will now be able to marry the person they love,” said Marriage Equality Director Moninne Griffith.  “The UK Government – and Prime Minister David Cameron in particular - has shown inspiring leadership on this issue, and today it has paid off.  Today’s vote has sent an important message that same sex couples deserve to be treated the same as anyone else and their relationships and families recognised and protected in the same way as other married couples and families.  Now, England and Wales have joined countries like the Netherlands, Canada, Spain and South Africa as leaders in the movement to respect and protect all families.”

In Ireland, the provision of marriage equality is set to be discussed by the Constitutional Convention on April 13th and 14th.  Recent polling carried out by Millward Brown Lansdowne for Marriage Equality, found that 75% of people would vote yes in a referendum to extend civil marriage to same sex couples – an increase of 12% from previous research in 2008.

“We believe the Convention will recommend putting this issue to the Irish people in a referendum, and when it does, we would urge the Government to act on it without delay,” added Ms Griffith.  “With the incredible momentum we’ve seen in countries around the world as well as ¾ of Irish people now in favour of marriage equality, now is the time to act.  Ireland CAN be a leader when it comes to equality for all families, by enshrining essential Irish values of justice, equality, fairness, and respect for all citizens in the Constitution.”