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Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill: A breakdown

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has passed into law in England and Wales after being granted royal assent.

The Act will:

  • Allow same sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies
  • Allow same sex couples to marry in religious ceremonies (where the religious organisation has "opted in"' to conduct such ceremonies and the minister of religion agrees)
  • Protect those religious organisations and their representatives who don't wish to conduct marriages of same sex couples from successful legal challenge
  • Enable civil partners to convert their partnership to a marriage if they wish
  • Enable married individuals to change their legal gender without having to end their marriage

Clegg on gay marriage: 'Together, we've made history'

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said, "Together, we've made history" after same-sex marriage passed into law:

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PinkNews 'delighted' by same-sex marriage approval

The publisher of PinkNews said they were "delighted" that same-sex marriage in England and Wales has been signed into law.

PinkNews released this picture of the Queen after she gave royal assent to the Bill. Credit: Twitter/@PinkNews

Benjamin Cohen, who also founded the Out4Marriage campaign, said, "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".

Catholic Bishops: Gay marriage 'marks watershed in law'

The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales said that the passing of same-sex marriage into law "marks a watershed in English law and heralds a profound social change."

Archbishop of Westminster the Most Rev Vincent Nichols and the Archbishop of Southwark Peter Smith said in a statement: "The new Act breaks the existing legal links between the institution of marriage and sexual complementarity.

Archbishop of Westminster the Most Rev Vincent Nichols. Credit: Arthur Edwards/PA Wire

"With this new legislation, marriage has now become an institution in which openness to children, and with it the responsibility on fathers and mothers to remain together to care for children born into their family unit, are no longer central.

"That is why we were opposed to this legislation on principle."

Equalities minister looks forward to first gay wedding

Equalities minister Maria Miller said she was looking forward to the first same-sex wedding by next summer after the Bill received royal assent.

Mrs Miller said in a statement: "Marriage is the bedrock of our society and now irrespective of sexuality everyone in British society can make that commitment.

Equalities minister Maria Miller said she is looking forward to the first same-sex marriage by next summer. Credit: Press Association

"Making marriage available to all couples demonstrates our society's respect for all individuals regardless of their sexuality.

"This is a historic moment that will resonate in many people's lives. I am proud that we have made it happen, and I look forward to the first same-sex wedding by next summer."

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