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John F. Burns and Alan Cowell - New York Times – 08 February 2013 (originally published 05 Feb)

Elizabeth Maddison proposed to Hannah Pearson in London

Elizabeth Maddison proposed to Hannah Pearson in London on Tuesday in front of Parliament, where the House of Commons backed same-sex marriage. Images: Luke Macgregory/Reuters

LONDON — The House of Commons voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to approve a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Britain, indicating that the bill is assured of passage as it moves through further legislative stages.

But in a major setback for Prime Minister David Cameron, who championed the measure, it appeared that more than half of the lawmakers in his Conservative Party voted against it or abstained.

After a six-hour debate, the Commons vote was 400 to 175 for the bill. The legislation, which applies to England and Wales, would permit civil marriage between same-sex couples, but specifically exempt the Church of England and other faiths from an obligation to perform such ceremonies. Some faith groups, including the Quakers, have said they want the legal right to perform same-sex marriages . . .

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