After two years of acrimonious debate, Canada’s House of Commons on June 28 passed a controversial same-sex marriage bill. If approved as expected by Canada’s Liberal-dominated Senate this month, the bill will allow same-sex couples to marry, making the country only the fourth in the world to recognize homosexual marriage. (Spain became the third on June 30.) For many, passage of the legislation was merely a formality, as courts in eight provinces and two northern territories had already struck down prohibitions against same-sex marriage over the past two years. Government officials in favor of the bill stressed that no religious denominations will be forced to offer same-sex wedding ceremonies. MPs also agreed to an amendment that would protect the charitable status of any religious institution that refuses to perform same-sex marriages.