Same-Sex Couples Tie the Knot in England, Wales

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 29 2014 3:07 PM

Same-Sex Couples Tie the Knot in England, Wales

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Tim Jarmaine-Groves (L) kisses his husband Richard Jarmaine-Groves as they hold their wedding certificate after their wedding in north London

Photo by CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images

Marriage equality arrived to a big chunk of the United Kingdom on Saturday, when the first same-sex weddings began taking place at midnight in England and Wales. Scotland is expected to follow suit in October, leaving Northern Ireland as the only place where the issue still faces strong political opposition. Prime Minister David Cameron celebrated the introduction of marriage equality Saturday with a column in the Pink News, where he compares same-sex marriage to his own vows:

This is something that has been very important to me. I have been so lucky to find the most incredible lifelong partner in Sam and our marriage has been a very special part of the commitment we have made to each other. Of course any marriage takes work, requires patience and understanding, give and take – but what it gives back in terms of love, support, stability and happiness is immeasurable. That is not something that the State should ever deny someone on the basis of their sexuality. When people’s love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change.
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With the law changing at midnight, several couples were apparently vying for the title of being the first two people of the same sex to say I do “by trying to time it perfectly so their vows were said just seconds after the clock struck midnight,” notes the Guardian. One of the first to get married were Peter McGrath and David Cabreza, who gathered a huge crowd at Islington Town Hall in London to make their relationship official after 17 years together, according to the BBC. Still, even if they are the first to officially exchange vows on British soil, they won’t be the first same-sex couple whose marriage will be recognized by the state. Earlier this month, the law in England and Wales changed to recognize same-sex couples who got married abroad.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said on Friday night that the Church of England was dropping its opposition to same-sex marriage. "The law's changed,” he told the BBC, “we accept the situation.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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