Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Gloria De Piero writes for PinkNews on the announcement of the timetable for same-sex marriage in England and Wales.

Yesterday was the news that so many have been waiting for.

Couples across the country ready to make a lifelong commitment to one another can now set a date for their wedding.

And how fantastic that this can now be as early as March of next year too, rather than next Summer as we were originally told.

Maria Miller should be congratulated for the work she’s done to bring forward this date. But yesterday’s announcement will be a disappointment for couples waiting to convert their civil partnership into marriage. There’s no need for further delays and the government should set this date as soon as possible.

And for trans people who have been waiting a long time to be able to change their legal gender without annulling their marriage; the government should be doing everything they can now to make sure this can happen as quickly as possible.

Weddings are always joyful and uplifting events but the first marriages to take place on 29 March will be particularly special celebrations.
Equal marriage marks an historic point in our country’s journey towards equality. For the first time, couples who love each other will be able to marry regardless of whether their partner is another man or another woman.

The message this sends to young people whatever their sexuality is that love is love; that everyone can aspire to make that important and loving commitment, and that our society will recognise it no differently.

And to people across the world, facing discrimination and oppression because of who they love, the signal this should send is one of solidarity and hope.

Gloria De Piero MP is Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities.