Writing exclusively for PinkNews, Prime Minister David Cameron celebrates the introduction of same-sex marriage today, comparing same-sex marriages to his own, and noting the work still to be done for equality.

This weekend is an important moment for our country. For the first time, the couples getting married won’t just include men and women – but men and men; and women and women. After all the campaigning – not least by readers of PinkNews – we will at last have equal marriage in our country. Put simply, in Britain it will no longer matter whether you are straight or gay – the State will recognise your relationship as equal.

This is something that has been very important to me. I have been so lucky to find the most incredible lifelong partner in Sam and our marriage has been a very special part of the commitment we have made to each other. Of course any marriage takes work, requires patience and understanding, give and take – but what it gives back in terms of love, support, stability and happiness is immeasurable. That is not something that the State should ever deny someone on the basis of their sexuality. When people’s love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change.

The introduction of same-sex civil marriage says something about the sort of country we are. It says we are a country that will continue to honour its proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth. It also sends a powerful message to young people growing up who are uncertain about their sexuality. It clearly says ‘you are equal’ whether straight or gay. That is so important in trying to create an environment where people are no longer bullied because of their sexuality – and where they can realise their potential, whether as a great mathematician like Alan Turing, a star of stage and screen like Sir Ian McKellen or a wonderful journalist and presenter like Clare Balding.

The campaign for equal marriage brought many people together – gay and straight, in and outside Parliament – and it is right to recognise them for their work. People like Mike Freer, Guy Black, Peter Tatchell, Benjamin Cohen and Tina Stowell; campaigns such as Freedom to Marry, the Coalition for Equal Marriage, Out4Marriage and Lobby-a-Lord; colleagues from across the political spectrum; and the Ministerial and Civil Service team who did such a good job on it.

Together we should be proud to live in a country judged to be the best place to live in Europe if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans. But we should equally be far from complacent about the challenges that remain – and I am just as committed as ever to working with you to challenge attitudes and stamp-out homophobic bullying and hate crimes.

We are a nation that is growing stronger economically because of our long term economic plan. But I hope we can also be a country that is growing stronger socially because we value love and commitment equally. Let us raise a toast to that – and all those getting married this weekend.

David Cameron is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party