British Lawmakers Vote in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage Bill
British lawmakers on Tuesday voted in favor of a bill to legalize same-sex "marriage," WORLD Magazine reports. Supporters celebrate the bill as a step toward "equality," but church leaders and conservatives warn that if implemented, the measure will bring serious social and cultural ramifications. Spearheaded by Prime Minister David Cameron, the bill still has to endure parliamentary debates and earn approval of the House of Lords before becoming law, but if approved, would allow same-sex couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies -- provided the religious institution consents -- starting in 2015. In December, British lawyer Aidan O'Neil warned of a variety of situations in which supporters of traditional marriage could be forced to recognize gay unions as marriage. For example, primary school teachers who refuse to teach LGBT-friendly curricula could be fired, Christian parents who want to adopt could be forbidden, and marriage registrars who refuse to fill out marriage licenses could be sued. The law's religious provision specifically exempts the Church of England from performing same-sex ceremonies, since they are banned by church law. Though the provision is supposed to protect the Church of England from legal trouble, officials have expressed concern it might not be enough. "It is impossible to predict whether those provisions will prove robust enough to resist challenge in the courts," officials wrote.