The world is moving further in the direction of been a much better world with the UK having its first marriage ceremonies for gay people on Saturday when a law authorising same-sex marriage came into effect at midnight after the last stage in a long campaign for equality.
David Cameron, the prime minister said it was an “important moment for our country”, and a rainbow flag flew above government offices in London to celebrate.
Cameron gave his backing to the change in law despite strong opposition from members of his Conservative party and the established Church of England and wrote in an article in Pink News,
“This weekend is an important moment for our country.”
“Put simply, in Britain it will no longer matter whether you are straight or gay – the state will recognise your relationship as equal.”
Civil partnerships have been legal since 2005 and marriage brings no new rights. For example the ability to adopt was introduced in 2002 but campaigners rightly say that only the right to marry gives them full equality with straight couples.
Teresa Millward, 37, who married her long-term girlfriend on Saturday said,
“We didn’t want to get married until it was a marriage that my mum and dad could have.”
The gay marriage law is the last victory in a long battle going back to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England in 1967.
However there is also some to try to spoil the apple cart. The Church of England had opposed same-sex marriage, saying that weddings should only take place between a man and a woman, and secured an exemption from the new law while the House of Bishops last month also warned clergy they should not bless married gay couples and a poll for BBC radio said 20 percent of British adults would turn down an invitation to a same-sex wedding.
But the survey also found that 68 percent agreed gay marriage should be permitted, with 26 percent opposing it and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the leader of the world’s 80 million Anglicans, said the Church had accepted the new law and would continue to demonstrate “the love of Christ for every human being”.
Andrew Wale, a writer and actor and his partner, Neil Allard, a guesthouse owner were among the first couples to marry after the law came into effect. The couple have long waited for this day.
Wale, 49, said,
“When we were born, it was illegal to be gay, let alone get married. I didn’t think about the possibility for most of my life. It is only really recently that suddenly the option seemed to be on its way.”
Donning velvet-collared three-piece suits with white flowers in their buttonholes, the smiling, happy couple of seven years hugged and kissed after they became husband and husband in the Royal Pavilion in the English city of Brighton. The pair won a competition by the local council to find the right couple for the historic occasion and they exchanged vows not long after midnight under the nine lotus-shaped chandeliers which hung down from the gilded cockleshell domed ceiling of the music room.
England and Wales are among 15 countries as well as parts of the United States and Mexico that authorised same-sex marriage. The Netherlands was the first in 2001, and last year Brazil, Uruguay, New Zealand and France also did the right thing. Scotland last month became the latest to give the green light to gay marriage. However, the other British country, Northern Ireland, has said it does not intend to introduce same-sex marriage legislation.
I want to see a day when all of Ireland, both South and North, introduces same-sex marriage. In fact I want to see a day when the entire world does. However this is another massive step forward and I must say well done to the campaigners and government. It is so sweet seeing all the happy couples getting married and I’d like to congratulate each and every one of them.