same-sex marriage

same-sex marriageA lesbian couple who were married in Canada 11 years ago have finally been able to recognise their marriage in the UK.

Celia Kitzinger, 57, and Sue Wilkinson, 60, both university academics, celebrated the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act coming into force at 12.01am, on Thursday 13th March 2014, which meant that the law in England and Wales changed to recognise same-sex marriages performed overseas.

Other gay couples are now able to register their intention to marry under the act, by giving statutory notice; the first ceremonies will take place on 29 March 2014.

It was a landmark moment for the couple, who lost a high court battle for legal recognition of their marriage 8 years ago. They told the Guardian that they never thought that they would see the day that their marriage was legally recognised in the UK.

“We were certain the judgment would not stand the test of time, but we weren’t sure how long it would take for him [the judge] to be the wrong side of history. We thought it might take beyond our lifetimes. The fact it has happened within eight years is stunning.”

The couple described how they felt when the new laws came into force at midnight on Thursday:

“At midnight we were just by ourselves at a secret romantic hideaway deep in the country, and we actually opened the window of our room and we heard the bells of the local church ringing midnight,” said Wilkinson. “And when the church clock went ‘bong’ we put on our rings and opened a bottle of champagne. It was just magical, special, lovely.”

The two women feel that the new laws are a huge step forward for gay rights in this country.

Kitzinger said: “I came out as lesbian in 1972-73, and I have watched and participated in the social change over 40 years. From when being lesbian was treated as mental illness, where we were subjected to attempts to ‘cure’ us, when gay men’s behaviour was illegal, through section 28. And all the oppressions have been eroded, one by one by one.”

 “The last piece of discriminatory legislation has been overturned, and this is a great day.” Wilkinson said.

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