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1,400 gay marriages in three months since new law

More than 1,400 same-sex couples have married in the first three months since the gay marriage bill was introduced, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

Of the 1,409 marriages that took place in England and Wales between March 29 and June 30, 56% were between female couples while 44% were between male couples.

Just over 1,400 gay couples tied the knot in the first three months since the historic same-sex marriage law was introduced. Credit: PA

A family lawyer described the overall figure as "surprisingly" low and said that the number is likely to increase when the law changes this December to allow civil partners to convert to same-sex marriages.

"We have received many inquiries from same-sex couples wanting information for how they can change their civil partnership to a marriage," said Slater & Gordon's Andrew Newbury.

"Due to this, we suspect the figures will increase when the law changes this December allowing civil partnership to convert to same-sex marriage."

Northern Ireland Assembly rejects gay marriage motion

A proposal to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in Northern Ireland has been rejected by the Assembly.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in the UK since March. Credit: PA

Members of the Assembly voted 51 to 43 against the Sinn Fein motion, the third time the matter has been brought to a vote.

The Democratic Unionists tabled a contentious voting mechanism ahead of the debate, meaning the motion could only pass if a majority of both unionists and nationalists supported it.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK without marriage rights and Amnesty International has warned there could be a legal challenge.


Justin Welby speaks of gay marriage struggle

The Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested that blessing gay marriages would divide the Anglican Church because some worshippers in Africa would never support homosexuality.

In an interview with The Telegraph, the Most Rev Justin Welby says that the Church had probably caused “great harm” to homosexuals in the past — but there was not always a “huge amount” that could be done now to rectify the situation.

Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Justin Welby Credit: PA

“We are struggling with the reality that there are different groups around the place that the Church can do - or has done - great harm to,” the Archbishop says.

“How do you hold those two things [in balance] and do what is right and just by all? And not only by one group that you prefer and that is easier to deal with? That’s not acceptable."

Gay clergyman breaks CoE's same-sex marriage ban

A gay clergyman has become the first ordained priest to break the Church of England's ban on same-sex marriage since it was legalised this year.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton, a hospital chaplain in Lincolnshire, reportedly tied the knot with long-term partner Laurence Cunnington yesterday.

The Church of England has barred gay ordained priests from marrying their partners.

The House of Bishops' pastoral guidance on same-sex marriage issued in February says: "It would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same-sex marriage, given the need for clergy to model the Church's teaching in their lives."

The Bishop of Lincoln, Rt Rev Christopher Lowson, said he had been made aware of the clergyman's intention to marry his partner.

"The Church of England is shortly to enter a process of facilitated discussions about its response to same-sex marriage," he said.

"I am committed to entering that process in a spirit of honesty and integrity, seeking to discern the spirit of God at work in the Church as we seek to understand the nature of marriage in the future."

Toksvig thought gay marriage's day 'would never come'

Comedian Sandi Toksvig has said there was "many a time I thought this day would never come" after renewing her wedding vows with her partner Debbie to celebrate the introduction of gay marriage in the UK.

Debbie and Sandi Toksvig took part in a mass sing-along of Bring Me Sunshine after renewing their vows. Credit: Justin Tallis/PA Wire

Toksvig came out as gay in September 1994 and recounted how she was told she would never work again and had to go into hiding with her children following negative press attention.

Sandi Toksvig joked that her sexuality was "just a phase" as the vows were read. Credit: Justin Tallis/PA Wire

She said: "At the time there was not a single gay woman out in public life. How wonderful it feels to be so much safer than 20 years ago."

The London Gay Men's Chorus provided the entertainment at the Royal Festival Hall. Credit: Justin Tallis/PA Wire

The couple, who first entered into a civil partnership seven years ago, were joined by more than 2,000 people, including their four children, at the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank.


Ricky Gervais calls law change 'a victory for all of us'

  1. Tyne Tees

Equal marriage is important - but people still shout at us

A change in the law has given gay and lesbian couples the right to marry for the first time in history, but a campaigner in the North East of England said there was a long way to go to combat social prejudice.

Mark Nichols, the Chair of Northern Pride, said he still would not be comfortable holding hands with his partner in the centre of Newcastle:

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