LGBTI global news 24-7

First gay marriages in UK will take place at midnight

Look back on the battle to get same-sex marriage legalized in England and Wales as the first couples prepare to walk down the aisle
The first gay couples in the UK will marry at midnight tonight (29 March).
Photo by Joe Morgan/Gay Star News.

The first same-sex marriages in the UK will take place at the stroke of midnight tonight.

After years of tireless campaigning from the LGBTI community, same-sex couples in England and Wales will finally be able to say ‘I Do’.

Queen Elizabeth II signed the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) last year in July, but it took several months before couples could register their intention to marry.

Campaigners spent years battling for the legalization of same-sex marriage, and it was only in September 2011 when Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone announced a government consultation would take place that the fight really started.

Some Conservatives were outraged, as well as religious groups such as the Catholic Church. But others, like the Quakers and Prime Minister David Cameron were in support.

With celebrities helping to keep the conversation going, the increase of Brits who were in favor grew rapidly.

This meant when people like Lord Norman Tebbit, who claimed the law would lead to ‘lesbian queens’ and ‘fathers marrying sons’, they were mocked at large.

The majority of politicians did the right thing, with the second reading in the House of Commons winning by a large vote of 400 in favor to 175 against.

It was a similar story in the House of Lords, culminating in such an overwhelming majority that the third reading passed with a voice vote.

'Lots of people took credit for winning same-sex marriage. But in the end it was all of us, working together and simply being who we are, that made it a reality,’ Tris Reid-Smith, editor and director of Gay Star News said.

‘We have made history. Even though Scottish gay couples can only marry later this year, and there is still work to be done in Northern Ireland, the entirety of the UK has something to be very proud of tonight.’

Several gay couples will be among the first to get married at 12.01am as the date changes to 29 March.

GSN will be in Brighton to witness Andrew Wale and Neil Allard marry in the UK gay seaside capital’s famous Royal Pavilion.

And we will also be in London to see Peter McGraith and David Cabreza marry in Islington Town Hall.

Not only that, GSN is inviting Londoners with or without a ring on their finger to Heaven club to celebrate the first same-sex weddings in style. The party is being held in conjunction with Stonewall, G-A-Y and Ben and Jerry's.

McGraith said: ‘We are thrilled to be getting married. It is a mark of significant social progress in the UK that the legal distinction between gay and straight relationships has been removed.’

Comment on a news story