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Britain introduces same-sex marriage bill

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LONDON >> The British government has introduced a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, and says lawmakers will get their first vote on it in Parliament next month.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, published today, extends marriage to gay couples but excludes clergy in the Church of England — the country’s official faith — from having to carry out the ceremonies.

That is intended to placate religious opponents of same-sex unions — though it has not stopped criticism of the bill from religious leaders.

The bill is likely to become law because it is supported by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, many of his Cabinet and most Liberal Democrat and Labour lawmakers.

But some traditionalist Conservative lawmakers say they will vote against it. The first debate and vote are scheduled for Feb 5.

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