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UK House of Commons approves same-sex marriage bill

The House of Commons of the UK Parliament [official websites] voted 366-161 on Tuesday to approve the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill [HC Bill 3]. The legislation was introduced in January [JURIST report] and will effectively extend the application of the Marriage Act of 1949 [materials] to same-sex as well as opposite-sex couples. The bill allows for an exception for any religious institutions that do not wish to perform same-sex weddings. Same-sex couples in England and Wales have been permitted to enter into civil partnerships since 2005 [BBC report], which has allowed them to receive many of the same legal rights as married opposite-sex couples. Prime Minister David Cameron [official website], who also serves as the Leader of the Conservative Party [official website], strongly supports the bill. His support has created tension [JURIST report] within the Conservative Party. The bill will next proceed to the House of Lords [official website] for final approval.

Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] continues to be a controversial issue internationally. France legalized [JURIST report] same-sex marriage last week. Earlier this month Brazil effectively legalized [JURIST report] same-sex marriage in a court ruling that prevented notaries from denying to perform ceremonies for same-sex couples. Also this month same-sex marriage legislation was approved in the US states of Minnesota, Delaware and Rhode Island [JURIST reports]. Last month Ireland announced it would hold a referendum [JURIST report] on same-sex marriage. In March, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two same-sex marriage cases regarding the Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 [JURIST reports], with decisions expected next month.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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