Save the date! Britain’s first same-sex marriages set for March

Publish Date: 11/12/2013

The first same-sex weddings in England and Wales will take place on Saturday 29 March 2014, announced Women and Equalities Minister Maria Miller.

Following the successful passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act in July this year, the government have been able to push forward arrangements sooner than planned as it was previously proposed that the first same-sex marriages would not take place until summer 2014.

Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive of The Lesbian & Gay Foundation (The LGF), welcomed the announcement from Ms Miller and said: “This certainly is a ‘big day’ – not only for the countless same-sex couples who can now celebrate and mark their love and commitment to each other in the same way as their straight friends and family; but also for all those individuals and organisations who have campaigned so hard, and so long for this day.

“The LGF actively campaigned for the implementation of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act in England and Wales, and our ‘Love Equal Marriage’ campaign received thousands of messages of support from across the country, with supporters taking direct action by contacting their local MP’s. The LGF also lobbied MP’s and Lords, and took to the streets to speak to people about this important issue.”

He added: “We want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of those who ensured their voices were heard; and to all the politicians who voted for equal marriage, and the civil servants who have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that the Act can be implemented.

“This is a historic moment on our journey to full equality, and we’d like to wish everyone taking advantage of this moment a long and happy future together. Congratulations!”

Same-sex couples will be able to get married in a registry office or approved religious premises, but there will be a slight further delay for people who want to ‘convert’ from civil partnerships to marriage.

From June 2014, same-sex weddings will also be able to take place in some British consulates and armed forces bases overseas or military chapels.

The Culture Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Maria Miller said: “Marriage is one of our most important institutions, and from 29 March 2014 it will be open to everyone, irrespective of whether they fall in love with someone of the same sex or opposite sex.

“This is just another step in the evolution of marriage and I know that many couples up and down the country will be hugely excited that they can now plan for their big day and demonstrate their love and commitment to each other by getting married.”

Couples wishing to marry on the first day will need to formally give notice of their intention to marry on 13 March 2014.

The equal marriage bill for England and Wales was given the Queen’s Royal Assent and officially became law on 17 July 2013.

If you're getting married next year then The LGF would love to feature your big day in an upcoming outnorthwest. If you're interested and would like to share your story then please email: media@lgf.org.uk