Happy ever after

Posted by Rachel Robinson on 28 March 2014

Pass the confetti – it’s been a long time coming but, from midnight tonight, same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in England and Wales for the very first time. As the clock strikes 12 gay couples will be able to wed in the first ever ceremonies in this country, as the new law permitting same-sex marriage comes into force.

All of this makes tomorrow a landmark day, a historic moment for civil liberties and equality in Britain. Getting here hasn’t been easy. Only a few decades ago, people faced regular discrimination because of their sexual orientation. New Labour helped change that by equalising the age of consent, legalising same-sex adoption and introducing civil partnerships – not to mention passing the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

The Coalition Government has now continued that good work by introducing the Marriage (Same-sex Couples) Act into law. It allows for gay civil marriage and gay marriage in places of worship, but protects religious freedom by ensuring that no religious denomination is forced to hold such ceremonies. We threw our support behind the legislation, which recognises that in a truly democratic and tolerant society the love and commitment shared by gay and straight couples alike deserves equal status under the law.

Among those marking the arrival of gay marriage tomorrow is comedian and friend of Liberty, Sandi Toksvig – host of our annual Human Rights Awards – and her partner, Debbie. Seven years after the couple entered a civil partnership, they will renew their vows in front of thousands at the I Do to Equal Marriage event at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

We’d like to send our warmest congratulations to Sandi and Debbie – and every other same-sex couple preparing to tie the knot tomorrow. We hope you all have a wonderful day – celebrating both your own individual union and the happy-ever-after to this long fight for freedom and fairness.

Campaign reference: 

A Decent Proposal

Rachel Robinson

Rachel Robinson

Policy and Advocacy Manager