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England And Wales See First Same-Sex Marriages

Same-sex couples in England and Wales rushed to the altar at the stroke of midnight as the ban on gay marriage was lifted.

England And Wales See First Same-Sex Marriages
Wikimedia / Tom Morris
SMS

Many same-sex couples in the United Kingdom are rushing to the altar after a ban on gay marriage was lifted at the stroke of midnight. 

 "I am now very happy to announce that you are now legally husband and husband." (Via BBC)

Gay marriage became legal in England and Wales in July 2013 under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act. However, couples could not register to marry until March 13 and could not legally wed until today, March 29. 

Daily Mirror reports rainbow flags will be flown all over England today in celebration of the historic event.

Though same-sex couples are now legally allowed to wed in the England and Wales, they still are restricted when it comes to picking a venue for their ceremony.

"They could not have a church wedding even if they'd wanted one, as the law prevents the Church of England from conducting them and allows other religious groups to refuse to perform them." (Via BBC)

But despite religious opposition, leaders for all three major political parties are expressing support for the new policy.

Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron wrote an exclusive piece for Europe's largest gay news service PinkNews about the issue, saying, "When people’s love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change."

Cameron added he believes it will only benefit his country, "I hope we can also be a country that is growing stronger socially because we value love and commitment equally. Let us raise a toast to that – and all those getting married this weekend." (Via PinkNews)

Following in England and Wales' footsteps, another major part of the United Kingdom voiced its opinion of gay marriage not long ago.

"Scotland passed a similar law last month. Same-sex marriages are expected there in October. And Northern Ireland, we're told, has no plans to follow suit." (Via WNBC)

The founder of a pro-gay marriage campaign estimates about 500 same-sex couples will tie the knot in England and Wales this weekend. (Via BBC)