A local Bedfordshire paper has reported that the council town of Bedford “made history” this weekend by hosting its first ever same-sex marriage ceremony, despite laws passed in July having not yet come into effect.
Bedford Today reported that Pauley and Steven Colhoun-Matthews tied the knot at The Barley Mow, in Bromham Road, on Saturday, in an event it has hailed as the “first marriage of its kind.”
This comes in spite of delayed administrations on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, which although given Royal Assent in July, will not yet come into effect until summer 2014.
The paper reported that Pauley, 30 and Steven, 26, met on a night out three years ago and have been together ever since.
The couple said their marriage vows in the pub’s beer garden, surrounded by family and friends.
It is likely the event was in fact a civil partnership, which, until next year, is still the only way for same-sex partners to engage in a formal union.
Bedford Today concluded its article by asking: “Do you know another couple who married before Pauley and Steven?”
Although in other countries, same-sex marriages were held almost immediately after the law was passed, in England and Wales it is expected to take longer. This was also the case with civil partnerships, which took about a year.
In part it is to ensure that all of the relevant changes are made to secondary legislation that refers to a married couple. There are also other administrative changes to be made too. PinkNews published a costing of these changes earlier this year.
In addition, government sources have told us that the Westminster government is hoping that Scotland could introduce same-sex marriage at the same time. This would mean that gay couples throughout the mainland of the UK will be able to marry, wherever they live.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the government department responsible for equality, has said that they must take place by the Summer of 2014. Although it is expected that they will take place earlier, more than likely in the Spring.