Equalities Minister Maria Miller has announced that same-sex weddings are to begin from March 2014.
Under the terms of this new bill, religious organisations (with the exception of the Church of England and Church of Wales who are banned in law from doing so), will need to ‘opt in’ to holding weddings and couples wishing to be among the first to join in matrimony will need to give formal notice of their intention to marry by 13 March.
These proposals have been backed by the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaderships, with Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg tweeting: “Great news that same sex weddings will happen from 29th March 2014 #savethedate”, after hearing of the announcement.
Ms Miller is also said to be working hard to ensure that couples who would like to convert their civil partnerships into marriages, and married people who want to change their legal gender while remaining married, will be able to do this before the end of 2014.
“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.” Said Miller.
While same-sex marriages are an enormous step towards promoting equality, unfortunately some homosexuals still face persecution and prejudice. If you are gay and are concerned about coming out to your friends and family, or if you have found that your friends and family have struggled to accept your sexuality, you may find that speaking with a counsellor could help you to understand and explore your feelings, allowing you to eventually move forward. Please visit our fact-sheet on sexuality for further information.