Gay marriages have begun in England and Wales!

At the stroke of midnight, Friday night (8pm Eastern time US), gay marriage became legal in England and Wales, and the first gay wedding ceremonies commenced.

Scotland passed its own gay marriage law this past February – marriages should start there this coming October.

Our English tweeps report that Sky News showed a live wedding taking place at midnight.  Nice.

Here’s one of the weddings!

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Sean and Sinclair were married at midnight.

And another! This is Peter and David – more on them here.

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The BBC has more:

Long-term couple Teresa Millward and Helen Brearley plan to get married on Saturday morning.

The pair, who will wed in Halifax, have not had a civil partnership because they believed it did not offer the same rights as marriage.

Ms Brearley said the new legislation puts them on a more equal footing with heterosexual married couples.

Ms Millward, her fiancee, added: “The certificate we get on the day will be the same as the certificate that my dad has with his wife, that my mum has with her husband, that my brother has with his wife and that my sister has with her husband.

“There will be no difference, so in that case, there is true equality.”

British gay rights leader Peter Tatchell has an article out explaining how they won:

The battle for equal marriage in England and Wales did not begin a year or two ago. It started way back in 1992 when the LGBT direct action group OutRage! organised the first challenge to the ban on same-sex civil marriage. Five lesbian and gay couples from OutRage! filed marriage licence applications at Westminster Register Office in London on 19 March 1992. They were refused. But this was the opening shot in the long campaign for equal marriage….

Securing same-sex marriage was ultimately the cumulative, collective effort of many LGBT organisations and tens of the thousands of grassroots LGBT people – and our many straight allies – who signed petitions, made submissions to the government, lobbied their MPs and wrote letters to newspapers. Bravo!

The Brits have a poll out showing that 20% of people over there would turn down an invitation to a gay couple’s wedding. That doesn’t strike me as terribly high – we’d probably have the same number here.

As legislation in England and Wales allowing gay couples to marry comes into force on Saturday, the BBC Radio 5 live survey also found men were nearly twice as likely to stay away as women.

The poll of 1,007 people found 68% agreed gay marriage should be permitted, with 26% opposing it.

One gay rights charity said people’s attitudes were “incredibly positive”.

A spokesman for lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall said it was important to highlight the fact that four in five people would accept an invitation to a gay wedding.

But Catholic Voices, which represents the Catholic Church, said the findings of the survey reflected the reality that people remained “deeply uncomfortable” with being honest about their true feelings on the meaning of marriage.

People remain deeply uncomfortable?  We’re at 80% in that poll, Mary.  If anything that number suggests that your hate and intolerance remains deeply marginalized.


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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