Marriage Equality Passes Britain's House of Commons

02.05.13 8:30 PM ET

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Britain is one step closer to full marriage equality:

The Commons voted in favour of the The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, by 400 to 175, a majority of 225, at the end of a full day's debate on the bill.

Prime Minister David Cameron has described the move as "an important step forward" that strengthens society.

For those keeping score, Conservative votes were split roughly 50/50.

And for those curious what this means for America, consider the already existing arguments about marriage equality conflicting with religious liberty. As I wrote in December:

Most conservatives can see where we're going. In 2004, George W. Bush used the marriage issue as part of his strategy to win Ohio. In 2012, Barack Obama openly campaigned as a supporter of same-sex marriage. Don't Ask, Don't Tell is gone. The Defense of Marriage Act is on its way out the door. And while Jonathan Rauch makes a poignant case against the Supreme Court making history by decisively ruling on California's Proposition 8 -- effectively asking the Courts to allow the case for marriage equality to be made before the people -- it is only a matter of time before gay and lesbian couples gain full equality [via] the ballot box.

Conservatives face, to pardon my Newt-speak, a crossroads. We can continue a fight against relative inevitability, or we can focus efforts on protecting freedom of conscience and religious liberty. There's still time for conservatives to coopt this issue as part of a broader agenda for promoting family values. But rest assured, if we wait too long, that opportunity will pass.