Women and Equalities Minister Maria Miller has announced that the first same sex weddings in England and Wales will be able to take place from Saturday 29 March 2014.
Following the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 successfully completing its journey through Parliament in July 2013, the government has been working hard to ensure that all the arrangements are in place to enable same sex couples to marry as soon as possible.
As a result of this work, the first same sex weddings can now happen several months earlier than anticipated, subject to Parliament’s approval of various statutory instruments, to be laid in the new year.
Maria Miller said:
Marriage is one of our most important institutions, and from 29 March 2014 it will be open to everyone, irrespective of whether they fall in love with someone of the same sex or opposite sex.
This is just another step in the evolution of marriage and I know that many couples up and down the country will be hugely excited that they can now plan for their big day and demonstrate their love and commitment to each other by getting married.
Further details of the timetable announced today include:
Same sex couples who married abroad under foreign law and are currently treated as civil partners will instead be recognised as being married in England and Wales in March 2014.
Same sex weddings in some British consulates and armed forces bases overseas will be possible, and arrangements for same sex weddings in military chapels will be in place, from June 2014.
The government is working hard to ensure that couples wishing to convert their civil partnerships into marriages, and married people wanting to change their legal gender while remaining married, will be able to do so as soon as possible. We aim to do this before the end of 2014.