British lawmakers on Tuesday voted in favor of Prime Minister David Cameron's bill legalizing same-sex marriage by a strong margin, 400 to 175, according to BBC News.
Cameron quickly responded to the news on Twitter:
Strong views exist on both sides but I believe MPs voting for gay people being able to marry too, is a step forward for our country.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) February 5, 2013
It was the bill's first vote in Britain's House of Commons, said the Associated Press. The legislation had faced opposition within Cameron's own Conservative party, but the overwhelming support evident in parliament today suggests opposition may not run that deep.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg welcomed the results, saying: "No matter who you are and who you love, we are all equal. Marriage is about love and commitment, and it should no longer be denied to people just because they are gay," reported BBC.
The bill now goes up for more parliamentary debates and a critical House of Lords vote, said AP, where it could face pushback.
Former minister Tim Loughton told SKY that he opposes the legislation — which legalizes same-sex marriage in civil and consenting religious ceremonies — on moral grounds.
"It is all about a conscience issue about gay marriages where many of us have very considerable concerns about the nature of this legislation, the flaws in this legislation and what it is trying to do," Loughton said, according to SKY.
Conservative MP David Burrowes, another critic of the bill, told BBC that he expects the legislation to face tougher criticism in the House of Lords.
Cameron earlier responded to concerns from his party by saying he was a "strong believer in marriage," an institution he said "helps people commit to each other and I think it is right that gay people should be able to get married too," reported BBC.
"This is, yes, about equality," the prime minister said. "But it is also about making our society stronger."
If the bill passes, it will be effective as of 2015, said AP.