Queen Elizabeth II gave her royal
approval to Britain's gay marriage bill on Wednesday.
The queen's royal assent was first
announced in the House of Commons, followed by the House of Lords.
“Let the Royal Proclamation be heard:
Go forth and put a ring on it!” tweeted Richard Lane of the gay
rights group Stonewall UK.
The law makes Britain the 15th
nation to legalize gay nuptials and follows close on the heels of a
law in France.
Unlike France, Britain did not see any
mass protests in the streets.
However, opponents have vowed to use
the issue in the upcoming general election. The Coalition for
Marriage, the nation's most vociferous opponent, said that passage of
the bill would “come back to bite” Prime Minister David Cameron
A spokesperson for the culture
ministry, which is overseeing the new law, said that the law won't
take effect until next summer. Gay rights groups vowed to lobby for
an earlier start. Stonewall UK said that it was looking at January.
“[T]here are various issues to sort
out, such as its impact on pensions,” a spokesperson for the
culture ministry told the AFP.
Efforts are already underway in the
United Kingdom's Scotland and Northern Ireland to approve a similar
law. Supporters said passage in England and Wales would give
momentum to those proposals.
According to a YouGov poll for the
Sunday Times, 54 percent of Britons favor marriage equality.