The equal marriage bill for England and Wales was today given Royal Assent, and is now officially law.
The Queen’s Royal Assent was granted to the bill on Wednesday at 15:06, turning it into the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, after clearing the final stage in Parliament yesterday, following two hours of debate, and the introduction of government amendments.
The bill officially became law once its Royal Assent was announced in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
Conservative MP David Burrowes had tabled an amendment and was yesterday again accused of trying to delay implementation of the bill. Pro-equal marriage MPs padded out their speeches so that Mr Burrowes could not propose his amendment.
The equal marriage bill was passed in the House of Commons, and as all amendments added in the House of Lords were accepted, it will not be required to go back to the Lords.
The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales will take place in summer 2014.
Benjamin Cohen, the publisher of PinkNews and founder of the Out4Marriage campaign said: “We are delighted that after five years of editorial campaigning and just three years after we received the support of the three main party leaders, same-sex marriage in England and Wales has been signed into law. Giving gay couples the right to marry will make our nation a more tolerant, open and welcoming place to live in and significantly increase the life prospects of so many people. It is absolutely fantastic that this change in the law, almost uniquely in the world, was proposed by a Conservative prime minister and his Liberal Democrat Deputy with the support of the Labour party leader. Sometimes politicians can work together for the common good and this is a stunning example of this.
“Now we eagerly await the debate in the Scottish Parliament and look forward to politicians in Northern Ireland following Cameron, Clegg and Miliband in supporting gay rights. It will be ridiculous if some parts of the UK are more equal than others.”
Peers in the House of Lords were cheering and rejoicing at having passed the bill into law.