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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:

Wedding planner 'never expected' to be able to marry

A wedding planner is now arranging her own big day, thanks to a change in the law, which came into effect at midnight.

Shadia Thannon (right) manages a hotel in Newcastle, which hosts weddings. She will marry her partner Catherine Martin there in July, becoming one of the first same-sex couples in the North East to marry.

They had been planning a civil partnership, until the change in the law in England and Wales last summer made marriage legal for same-sex couples:

"For us it's really important, it means our relationship is seen equally in the eyes of the law. That's something neither of us really ever expected to happen," Catherine said.

Newcastle: How to change from civil partnership to marriage

A rally to campaign for equal rights for those who are lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender. Credit: TERRY SCOTT/NEWZULU/PA Images

Same sex couples are being invited to an event in Jesmond, Newcastle, to find out how to change civil partnerships into marriages. Same sex marriages become legal in England and Wales tomorrow.

The city council is holding an event at Mansion House.

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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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New Archbishop braced for gay marriage row

The new Archbishop of Canterbury is ready to reveal he believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman, it has emerged.

Ahead of the first parliamentary vote on the reforms, the Rt Rev Justin Welby is prepared to face questions about the highly divisive issue.

The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt Rev Justin Welby will be formally confirmed in his new role at a ceremony in St Paul's Cathedral today. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Tories have been plunged into deep unrest by the proposals, which David Cameron has personally championed.

The Prime Minister is facing the prospect of some 180 members of his party, including a significant number of senior figures, opposing or abstaining in a vote on the changes on Tuesday. He is expected to attempt to talk to his MPs today in the hope of winning their support, according to The Times.

Bishop Welby is being formally confirmed in his new role at a ceremony in St Paul's Cathedral today.

For more on reports that around 180 Conservative Cabinet members, junior ministers and party enforcers are poised to oppose or abstain in a vote on gay marriage, click here.

Bishop voices his concerns over same-sex marriage

The Catholic Bishop of Middlesbrough is calling for MPs to be given a free vote over the government's Equal Marriage Bill.The bill, which would allow couples of the same sex to marry, is published this month.

The Right Reverend Terry Drainey says he feels the legislation is being rushed through and fears its implications.

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: "We have been very clear that our plans for equal marriage will fully protect the freedom of religious bodies to preach, teach and put into practice their beliefs about marriage."