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British lawmakers approve gay marriage in historic vote

Published on Feb 6, 2013 5:58 AM
Elizabeth Maddison (left) proposes marriage to her civil partner Hannah Pearson in front of Parliament in London Feb 5, 2013. British lawmakers on Tuesday backed legalising gay marriage in the first of several votes on the issue after a debate which split Prime Minister David Cameron's ruling Conservative party in two. -- PHOTO : REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - British lawmakers voted in favour of controversial legislation allowing gay marriage on Tuesday despite fierce opposition from members of Prime Minister David Cameron's own party.

The move puts Britain on track to join the ten countries that allow same-sex couples to marry, but Mr Cameron had the embarrassment of seeing half of his Conservative legislators refusing to back him.

The prime minister insists that the plan to allow same-sex couples to marry in England and Wales would "make our society stronger" although the draft law still has several other parliamentary hurdles to clear.

It passed by 400 votes to 175, mainly because it had overwhelming support from the opposition Labour Party and also from many members of the Liberal Democrat party, the junior partner in Cameron's coalition government.

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