In a win for lesbian and gay activists in Canada last night, the Canadian House of Commons voted to legalize same-sex marriage. The bill will need to be approved by the Senate to go into effect; however, Senate approval is considered a mere formality, reports the New York Times. Upon Senate approval, which is expected in July, Canada will join Belgium and the Netherlands as the third country in the world to grant lesbian and gay couples the right to marry.
Same-sex couples were already allowed to marry in the majority of Canada’s provinces, with yesterday’s vote potentially extending that right nationwide. An important step forward for lesbian and gay rights worldwide, Canada’s bill gives same-sex couples the same legal marriage rights as heterosexual couples. While an historic victory for same-sex couples in Canada, in the US President George W. Bush has called for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and 15 states have passed laws outlawing same-sex marriage, according to the LA Times. Further, Massachusetts is the only state to recognize same-sex marriage, with Vermont and Connecticut permitting civil unions.