Excellent news. The United Kingdom's House of Lords has approved the marriage equality bill and rejected the so-called "wrecking amendment" by a significant margin in a 390-148 vote, reports the Guardian. The House of Lords is the upper house of the UK's parliament.
The Lords voted by 390 votes to 148 to reject an attempt by Lord Dear, a crossbencher, to defeat the bill at second reading. It is very unusual for the Lords to block a bill at second reading and some peers may have been voting against Dear because they were opposed to the idea of the Lords trying to obstruct legislation in this way, not because they were great supporters of the bill. But the size of the majority means the bill must now be certain to become law. However, it is still likely that attempts will be made to amend it in the Lords, in particular to strengthen the protection available to churches who do not want to conduct gay weddings. Lady Stowell, a government whip, told peers in her wind-up speech that the government would not necessarily object to amendments of this kind.
The huge margin comes after many bishops and peers in the upper house were reportedly "warned" against attempted to block the marriage bill, the conservative-leaning Telegraph reported over the weekend.
[Government officials] fear that a large bloc of clerics turning up to vote down the bill could rebound on the Church [of England], reopening questions over the right of bishops to sit in the Lords and even raise the prospect of disestablishment. They have also told bishops privately that they are convinced the bill, which includes legal “locks” to prevent clergy being forced to carry out same-sex weddings against their beliefs, is the “best” they could hope to achieve.
It comes amid warnings of a "dangerous" constitutional stand-off between the Commons and the Lords if peers vote to reject the bill, which has already received strong backing from MPs.
The legislation now heads to committee for revisions and there will be a third reading before a final vote.
Legislation to allow equal marriage in England and Wales was approved by a 366 to 161 last month in the House of Commons. The Scottish parliament is considering separate legislation. Civil partnerships have been recognized in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland since 2005.
France became the 14th nation to legalize equal marriage nationwide on April 23. It joined Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay. Brazil, Mexico and the United States allow equal marriage in certain states.