Social media became a more colorful place in Britain as Queen Elizabeth II gave gay marriage the official OK. The rainbow emblem of the gay movement is seen in images including the queen in seven striking suits as supporters celebrated their controversial win.
Twitter and Facebook exploded this week with photos and messages backing Britain's new gay marriage law.
The rainbow, as it happens, became the standard symbol of the gay community in the 1970s, and in '78 San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker designed the flag with eight bright stripes. Each color has its own symbolism, as the Los Angeles Times recently reported: Pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for the human spirit.
Here's some color from social media:
With Queen Elizabeth's approval, Britain just legalized gay marriage!!! Congratulations Britain!!!!! http://t.co/Fh33ybYGuf— mia farrow (@MiaFarrow) July 17, 2013
With the Queen giving her royal assent overnight Britain becomes the 15th country to legalise gay marriage! Congrats! pic.twitter.com/UmWI0V9O3S— #DIYrainbow (@DIYrainbows) July 18, 2013
And here's one from Visit Britain, as various businesses in the country gear up for possible profits from the legalization of gay marriage.
As London's Evening Standard reported this year, Britain's economy stands to gain $27 million within a year, with up to 3,000 same-sex marriages.
Previously, gay and lesbian couples could enter into "civil partnerships" in Britain that carry almost the same rights as marriage. About 50,000 partnerships have been registered since 2005.
Under the new legislation, religious clerics of any denomination must "opt in" to offer religious weddings to same-sex couples. The Church of England is banned by law from celebrating such marriages, and several denominations still remain opposed to the idea, while others such as Quakers and liberal Jewish congregations are in favor.
The bill introduced in January has caused division among lawmakers, especially within the ruling Conservative Party. Some of its members have accused the government of bulldozing the law through Parliament. Other Conservatives, including Prime Minister David Cameron, have voiced full support for the change.
Marriage for same-sex couples is already possible in France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain and Portugal.
The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales are expected to take place next summer, after government agencies work out logistical details and procedures for such unions, for gay couples already in civil partnerships to switch their status if they choose and for religious organizations to "opt in."