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PM: Allowing gay couples to marry will help country

David Cameron has hailed the first same-sex marriages in England and Wales as sending a "powerful message" about equality in Britain.

The law changed at midnight, with a number of gay couples vying to claim the title of being the first to be married in Britain by trying to time it perfectly so their vows were said just seconds after the clock struck 12.

Prime Minister David Cameron addresses guests at the Gay Pride reception in 2010. Credit: PA

The Prime Minister said the reform was necessary because "when people's love is divided by law, it is that law that needs to change".

Writing in Pink News he said "this weekend is an important moment for our country" because "we will at last have equal marriage in our country".

Sandi Toksvig renews wedding vows in public event

As gay and lesbian couples across England and Wales say I do, they will be in good company as broadcaster Sandi Toksvig renews her vows with Debbie Toksvig.

The free but ticketed event in the Royal Festival Hall on London's Southbank forms part of the centre's celebrations of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act becoming legal from midnight.

Sandi Toksvig re-weds her long-term partner. Credit: Suzan/EMPICS Entertainment

The Radio 4 News Quiz presenter said the event would be a "joyous occasion" and invited the public to share the experience, at which they will joined by their four children.

Toksvig, who had a civil partnership with Debbie in 2007, said: "I look forward to celebrating with old and new friends. It is a public statement of pride in our love and thanks to all those who have campaigned for equality over many years."

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MPs celebrate first same-sex marriage at ceremonies

MPs and councillors across England and Wales are celebrating the inauguration of the first same-sex marriage ceremonies taking place at midnight today. Yvette Cooper, Emily Thornberry and Terry Stacey attended ceremonies this evening.

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Happy couple on the steps of islington Town Hall, congratulations :-) http://t.co/itgcNCLjxy

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MPs hail 'momentous achievement' of equal marriage

As the countdown for the first same-sex marriages gets underway, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and shadow chancellor Ed Balls have hailed the momentous event.

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Rainbow flag flying above 70 Whitehall tonight & all weekend to mark the momentous achievement of #EqualMarriage http://t.co/0yFvjB2prd

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Only 1 hour to go - I'm so proud to be part of a society & a @uklabour @lgbtlabour movement which has made #EqualMarriage a reality

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Wishing everyone taking vows from midnight tonight every happiness in the world. A wonderful & historic day for #LGBT rights #equalmarriage

Welby calls for church to 'show love' to gay couples

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Archbishop of Canterbury has signalled a shift in tone in the Church of England's response to same-sex marriage, which will become law at midnight tonight.

Although the church has been divided over the new law, Justin Welby struck a conciliatory tone in his comments.

"I think the church has reacted by fully accepting that it's the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being."

Read: First same-sex marriages to take place from midnight

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Nick Clegg 'so chuffed' as gay marriage legalised

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the legalisation of same-sex marriage was "a great step forward".

"It's a landmark day," he said. "I am so chuffed about this change in the law."

"It's just a simple idea that if two people love each other it doesn't matter that they're the same sex - if they love each other and want to show that commitment towards each other through marriage, they should be able to do so."

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