The bill was backed by Tory Prime Minister David Cameron, who wanted to prove his party was progressive on social issues. However, Cameron paid a substantial political price for his backing. More than half of his party’s members in the House of Commons voted against the bill, including some of his own Cabinet ministers. That Tory rancor continued right down to the final debate.
But Cameron did what a conservative leader should – guided his right-flank back to the center, while allowing them to vent. It’s worth noting that almost all the leading Tory figures are for marriage equality – including London Mayor Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary William Hague. The right on Britain supports universal healthcare, aggressive tacking of climate change and civil marriage for gay couples. If you wonder why I still call myself a conservative – as opposed to a Republican – think of me as an English conservative.
Caspar Aremi zooms out:
England and Wales join the fifteen countries (Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden and Uruguay), and several sub-national jurisdictions (parts of Mexico and the United States) who have passed legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry.
That’s 362 million more people who live in countries with marriage equality than was the case just a year ago. The total population now living in countries with marriage for all is 641 million. A year ago, it was 289 million.
(Photo: A gay campaigner waves the rainbow flag during a rally outside the Houses of Parliament as the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill gets an unopposed third reading by the Lords in central London on July 15, 2013. By Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty Images)