The House of Lords, the unelected upper chamber of the U.K. Parliament, offered its final approval to marriage equality legislation Monday, according to Bloomberg. Although the Lords did not register a vote today, the chamber previously approved the legislation by an overwhelming majority of 390 to 148.
The legislation, championed by Prime Minister David Cameron, now returns to the lower House of Commons, where members will vote on amendments proposed by the Lords. In May, the House of Commons voted in favor of marriage equality by a vote of 366 to 161, leaving advocates hopeful that the lower house will affirm the proposed law. If the House of Commons accepts the amendments, the bill will go to Queen Elizabeth for her signature, a process known as Royal Assent.
Once the law is enacted, England and Wales will become the tenth European jurisdiction to embrace marriage equality, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association — Europe. The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, and Iceland established marriage equality previously, and France enacted same-sex marriage earlier this year. That means 30% of Europeans now live in nations that support the freedom to marry, reports ILGA-Europe.
“Today, the land of Magna Carta sealed another historic transformation," said Gabi Calleja, cochair of ILGA-Europe's executive board in a statement. "Marriage is an institution which is dear and close to many people’s hearts, beliefs and lives. It was shaped and transformed over hundreds of years by different traditions, interpretations and customs. The debate leading to the adoption of the marriage equality law has shown that British society and its politicians have once again embraced change, to update the institution of marriage to that which is equally open and accessible to all, in the name of justice and human rights."