Lawmakers and citizens work to move marriage forward in France, England and Wales

Just as the freedom to marry in the United States has gotten off to a rousing start in the first month of 2013, support for marriage in England, Wales, and France has also surged this year, with lawmakers and citizens taking big steps to move marriage forward this year. 

England and Wales 

Last week, lawmakers introduced a bill in the British Parliament that would extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in England and Wales. The law only concerns civil marriage - meaning the Church of England or other religious institutions will not be affected by the law.

Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, explained her support for the legislation, saying, "We feel that marriage is a good thing and we should be supporting more couples to marry, and that is exactly what the proposals being brought forward today do." In the past year, many UK lawmakers and public figures - including Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron - have announced or reiterated their support for the marriage law.  

The House of Commons is scheduled to consider the legislation on February 5.

France 

In France this weekend, supporters of the freedom to marry rallied in Paris to encourage legislators to move forward with legislation that would extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. 

President Francois Hollande promised during his election campaign last year that he would be at the forefront of the movement to win marriage for all French couples, and the rally this weekend served as a reminder to him of his promise. Hundreds of thousands of people  

A poll released on Saturday demonstrated majority support, with 63 percent of those surveyed favoring the freedom to marry.

The marriage bill is now being debated in the French National Assembly. Watch the debate HERE (in French).  

People in Argentina, where same-sex couples have had the freedom to marry since 2010, joined the French rally in solidarity on Sunday by holding up signs that say "Oui" ("Yes") to encourage the people of France to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.  

Learn more about the freedom to marry abroad HERE.  

(Photo by Getty Images