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Great Britain Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

“Narnia” Premiere | London, Nov. 30
Max Nash/AFP/Getty Images

Announcing final approval by Queen Elizabeth II, culture secretary Maria Miller said the legislation was about "freedom and respect."

Gay marriage has become legal in Great Britain after a legal bill on Wednesday received the necessary royal approval of the legislation from Queen Elizabeth II.

The bill, which split the Conservative Party of Prime Minister David Cameron, means that same-sex couples can get married in England and Wales beginning next summer.

Announcing the final approval in the House of Commons of the British parliament, culture secretary Maria Miller said the legislation was about "freedom and respect."

She added: "It provides clear affirmation that as a nation, respect for each and every person is paramount, regardless of age, religion, gender, ethnicity or sexuality."

Earlier this year, France also made same-sex marriage legal.

The development is also likely to draw attention from members of the U.S. entertainment industry, which has been crucial in pushing for gay marriage rights in the U.S.

"Finally, aged 45, I have just become a citizen equal under English law to my heterosexual friends," tweeted Neil Midgley, a media commentator and TV critic for the Daily Telegraph newspaper. "Genuinely never thought I would see the day."