Gay Marriage Wins Big In UK Parliament Vote

David Cameron

A British law that would legalise same-sex marriage in the UK and Wales by 2014 has passed the House of Commons in a contentious vote.

The law must now pass a detailed examination by committee and the House of Lords (the unelected upper parliament), which may be easier said than done. But overall this looks like it should be a win for David Cameron, who had made a big push for the law — just today telling the BBC it was a “important step forward” that would “make society stronger.”

The problem is, Cameron actually looks like the loser here.

You see, Cameron wants his party, the traditional, right wing Conservatives who currently sit as the larger half of the U.K.’s coalition government to be seen as modern and progressive. That was clearly a key part of why he pushed for the law.

Unfortunately, his party didn’t agree with him, and there were reports of a revolt. Cameron withdrew the party whip from the vote, apparently fearful of trying to make his party members vote on something that they opposed morally and on religious grounds.

After 7 hours of debate, the votes came rolling in, with 400 to 175 voting in favour. Of those 175, 139 are estimated by Sky News to be Conservatives defying their own party leader — more than had actually voted for gay marriage. The Independent reports that at least one Cabinet member (the highest rank of British government) had voted against the law.

Given that the party is already split by Europe, and the Eurosceptic, socially conservative UKIP party are very much on Cameron’s back, this can’t be good for the British Prime Minister.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.