First same sex weddings in England and Wales

March 29, 2014

Rainbow flags are flying at Westminster and outside town halls across the country today, as same sex couples say their vows and make history.

As lawyers, we know that marriage provides no more rights in practice than same sex couples can already access via civil partnership: rights on separation, inheritance and parenthood status included (you can read more about this in Richard’s article published in the Review in January). But as advocates for diverse modern families, we know how much it matters. As with racial segregation in 1950s America, ‘separate but equal’ has not been truly equal. Language makes a difference. People who share their lives, their mortgages, their children, should be husbands and wives and not ‘husbands’ and ‘wives’. Marriage for all is a statement that love is love; no different, no less.

At NGA we support all kinds of people who are pushing boundaries and challenging convention: parents conceiving through IVF, surrogacy and donation, single parents, same sex couples. Today marks a win for them all. It shows we live in a country which cares about fair treatment for minorities, which is open and tolerant, which recognises that families made in different ways are equally valid.

The law needs to keep moving forward. Particularly in the area of surrogacy, the law needs to support families in better ways. On days like today we feel optimistic that it is only a question of time before we get there.

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