Victory in England and Wales! The Queen grants final approval of marriage bill

Today, the Queen of England granted royal assent to a bill that will extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in England and Wales. Her royal assent is the final approval necessary to pass the bill.

Freedom to Marry founder and President Evan Wolfson applauded the victory yesterday after the British House of Lords approved the legislation for the last time. He said:

After a rich and extensive months-long debate in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, Britain’s parliament passed a historic freedom to marry bill, introduced by a conservative prime minister and drawing support from across the spectrum. This victory makes 18 countries on five continents in which gay people can now share in the freedom to marry, with England and Wales joining Uruguay, New Zealand, France and Brazil in ending marriage discrimination this year alone. With the Supreme Court’s powerful ruling on federal respect for marriages nationwide, Freedom to Marry has laid out the roadmap of work needed to ensure that the United States joins these countries on the right side of history.

Freedom to Marry partnered with a British organization committed to winning the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, Freedom to Marry UK, on the legislative efforts, lending expertise on how to make the case to conservative members of the Parliament and the British public. 

Weddings will begin in England and Wales in 2014. 

When marriages between same-sex couples begin in the countries - expected by Spring 2014 - Britain will join 15 countries that have the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide: The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, and France. Two others have taken regional steps to allow same-sex couples to share in the freedom to marry in parts of the country: Mexico and the United States. 

After the freedom to marry legislation in Uruguay, New Zealand, England and Wales take effect, same-sex couples will be able to share in the freedom to marry in 18 countries. 

Learn all about the freedom to marry internationally HERE.