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Gay couples in England and Wales can now register for marriage

Gay couples in England and Wales can now register for marriage

Gay couples in England and Wales can register for marriage today (13 March).

Existing marriages of gay couples that took place overseas are now legally recognized.

The 15-day notice period to register intent to marry can be waived if one of the partners is terminally ill.

For those who wish to convert their civil partnerships into marriages, that procedure is expected to come into effect later this year.

The couples who announce their intention to marry at a register office today will be among the first couples in the UK to marry on 29 March.

Across England and Wales, many couples will be marrying seconds after it becomes legal.

Andrew Wale and Neil Allard will be saying their vows in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion just after midnight.

‘I feel so lucky to live in a country where human rights and equality are moving in the right direction, and in a city with such an impressive history of tolerance and inclusion,’ Wale said.

Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson are officially married now after saying their vows in Canada in 2003.

The couple were told by a High Court judge in 2006 their marriage was not valid in England and they faced an ‘insurmountable hurdle’ for it to be declared as such.

But now, with the same-sex marriage law a really, that marriage is now legally binding in England and Wales.

Kitzinger told the BBC she and her wife will be celebrating at home ‘the future of lesbian and gay equality for all countries of the world’.

Civil partnerships became legal in the UK in 2004, giving same-sex couples many of the same legal recognitions – but not all – as marriage.

The procedure to ‘upgrade’ civil partnerships into marriages is expected to take place by the end of the year.

Ceremonies in Scotland are expected to take place at the end of 2014. There is no similar legislation planned in Northern Ireland.

England and Wales are the 16th and 17th countries in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.