The first same sex weddings in the United Kingdom will be able to take place from Saturday 29 March 2014. This follows the passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, which received Royal Assent on 17 July 2013.
The United Kingdom’s Women and Equalities Minister, Maria Miller has set out the country’s same sex position as:
"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. The 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."
The UK Government announced the timetable for implementing equal marriage on 10 December 2013. Same sex couples who want to be among the first to marry will need to give formal notice of their intention to marry on Thursday 13 March 2014.
The Registrar General can allow a marriage to take place without the normal 15 day notice period where one of the couple is seriously ill and not expected to recover. Such marriages of same sex couples will be possible from 13 March 2014. The Registrar General can also reduce the normal 15 day waiting period in compelling circumstances, such as where a person is being deployed overseas in the armed forces to a war zone.
Further, same sex couples who married overseas under foreign law and are currently treated as civil partners will instead be recognised as being married in the United Kingdom from 13 March 2014.
Hopefully Australian politicians will follow their UK colleagues lead.