Many of us are brought up to dream of marriage from a very young age. But for some, being able to get married to the man, or woman, of our dreams has been a dream too far. Until today.
In an historic move, Her Majesty the Queen has given Royal Assent to the Equal Marriage Bill in England and Wales, making it law. The Bill now becomes the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act. The first same sex couples will be able to get married from Summer 2014.
For John Barrowman, who recently married his partner Scott Gill in California following the overturning of the Defence of Marriage Act, the change could not come soon enough:
Comedienne and popular presenter Sue Perkins reacted to the news of the Bill passing through the House of Lords on Tuesday:
Founder of the Out4Marriage campaign, Benjamin Cohen, believes the Act will have a profound and positive impact on our society. He spoke today: “Giving gay couples the right to marry will make our nation a more tolerant, open and welcoming place to live in and significantly increase the life prospects of so many people.”
Politicians also spoke happily about the passing of the Act, many of whom have fought for this. Maria Miller, Culture Secretary, said:"marriage is the bedrock of our society and now irrespective of sexuality everyone in British society can make that commitment".
While the Act has faced fierce opposition from some, both politically and publically, ultimately it has highlighted his country’s progressive attitudes and given us something to really be proud of.
For me it’s not just about the wedding aspect, being able to wear a pretty dress and walk down the aisle, or even about being able to proclaim myself married. It’s about equality; it’s about knowing that I am the same in the eyes of the law as my next door neighbour; it’s about knowing my love is as valid to society as any heterosexual person’s. It’s about the next generation growing up knowing that, no matter whether they fall in love with boys or girls, they will not have to feel anything other than normal because of it. As Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said: “Once what was felt, or considered, to be a radical will soon be the law of the land… People will look back on it and think, ‘what on Earth was the fuss all about’.”
In the words of Stephen Fry: