UK lawmakers approve same-sex marriage in first vote
London (CNN) -- UK lawmakers took a big step Tuesday toward legalizing same-sex marriage, an issue that has prompted widespread rebellion within Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party. In a 400-175 vote, MPs approved the second reading of a bill legalizing such marriage, indicating a significant majority of members support the measure. However, it must go through several more stages before it can become law. The bill faces another vote in the House of Commons and a vote in the House of Lords. Before Tuesday's vote, three top party members appealed to Conservative MPs to get behind the controversial legislation in a letter published in the Telegraph newspaper. The letter, signed by Chancellor George Osborne, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Home Secretary Theresa May, said that passing the bill is "the right thing to do at the right time." The institution of marriage has evolved over time, the letter said, while "attitudes towards gay people have changed."inauguration In a direct appeal to fellow party members, the trio added: "We believe that opening it up to same-sex couples will strengthen, not weaken, the institution. As David Cameron has said, we should support gay marriage not in spite of being Conservatives, but because we are Conservatives."
Same-sex marriage around the world
Their attitude was echoed by Kate Green, a Labour MP, during debate. Tuesday's reading was the first opportunity for lawmakers in the House of Commons to debate the bill in detail. "By recognizing and extending the definition of marriage to reflect today's greater openness towards, and recognition of, same-sex relationships, the legislation does not weaken the institution of marriage. On the contrary, it takes it forward, it strengthens it. It helps to perpetuate it," she said. The legislation passed the House of Commons with the support of lawmakers from Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The latter are in a...
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