First Same-Sex Marriages Take Place in UK

3.29.2014

By Jerry Portwood

Gay couples in England and Wales now have the right to wed, giving them all the same legal benefits as straight unions

Peter McGraith and David Cabreza were married on March 29 at Islington Town Hall in London | Photo: Getty

History was made on Saturday, March 29, when the first same-sex couples in the UK were allowed to marry. They wasted no time—gay couples began to marry a minute after midnight in Brighton, Sheffield, London, and other cities across the country.

Same-sex couples have been allowed to enter "civil partnerships" since 2005, granting the same legal rights as marriage. England and Wales legalized same-sex marriages in July, but today was the first day they were legally allowed to take place.

“It’s back of the bus thinking,” Peter McGraith told Reuters. “You understand that sense of the whole wedding thing and baby showers and of it being an indulgence of other people’s and not ours.” 

Andrew Wale and Neil Allard, a couple of seven years, had their first married kiss at Brighton’s historic Royal Pavilion. And the press captured it (see below).

Wale told Gay Star News: "Perception will change. People who are feeling confused by it will calm down and generally people will be accepting and it will relax the situation." 

He went on to explain the excitement of his wedding: "It was amazing. I just remember seeing my parents' marriage certificate when I was a child, and it felt quite amazing and quite bizarre to be signing my own. Marriage is about loving somebody and being with somebody and sealing that feeling with a legal document."

Scotland has an equivalent same-sex marriage law that was passed this month, and it will become law in the fall. Northern Ireland currently has no planned introduction of same-sex marriage.

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