First gay marriages take place

Mar 29, 2014

Church of England drops opposition as same-sex couples tie the knot

The first same-sex weddings have taken place after gay marriage became legal in England and Wales at midnight.

At a packed ceremony in Islington, Peter McGraith and David Cabreza wed after 17 years together. The veteran human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was the chief witness at the ceremony.

Hundreds of photographers and television crews were joined by a crowd of well-wishers outside Islington Town Hall. Cabreza said: "From a global and political perspective it's great too, but for us it's also about us and our marriage.”

Other couples to take advantage of the legislation were Andrew Wale and Neil Allard, who wed at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton just after midnight.

Allard said the couple felt "privileged" and "humbled". Wale added: "It's kind of extraordinary. We did not really expect it to happen so suddenly, so soon.”

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury said last night that the Church of England will drop its opposition to same-sex marriage. "The law's changed; we accept the situation," Justin Welby told the BBC.

The law changed at midnight, legalising gay marriage in England and Wales. David Cameron said the law change sends the message that the UK is “a country that will continue to honour its proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth”.

Scotland passed a similar law last month, and the first same-sex marriages are expected to take place there in October. Northern Ireland has no plans to follow suit.

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