In England, it’s not over until the Queen says so. And now the battle for marriage equality in England and Wales is over, because the queen has given her royal assent to the marriage equality law finalized by Parliament this week. The royal approval is considered a formality, given the figurehead nature of the queen, but it’s important symbolic recognition of the achievement. Same-sex marriages will be officially recognized starting next summer.
In the meantime, it’s worth noting how smoothly marriage equality went in England compared to allegedly more sophisticated France. More than 400,000 people turned out in Paris to rally against marriage equality there, in what turned out to be a violent protest. While there has been grousing from the right wing in England, there has been nothing like the naked (or occasionally swim-suited) animosity to marriage equality that has characterized the French response. Of course, France has a more traditional streak, informed by conservative Catholicism, so perhaps the reaction isn’t surprising. That doesn’t make it any less disappointing, though.