The founder of PinkNews and one of the main campaign groups for equal marriage in the UK has married his fiance in a wonderful ceremony.
PinkNews CEO Benjamin Cohen and Dr Anthony James married on Sunday at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew surrounded by more than 150 of their family and friends.
Mr Cohen is best known for his role at PinkNews, as well as his work as the creator of Out4Marriage, a cross-party and cross-media group which succeeded in its aim of bringing equal marriage to England and Wales.
Out4Marriage started in 2012 after the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government began a consultation on marriage equality in England and Wales, after all of the UK’s party leaders told PinkNews that they either supported or were open to introducing same-sex marriage.
The Marriage (Same Sex) Couples Act received Royal Assent on 17 July 2013, paving the way for couples to marry in England and Wales from March 29, 2014.
Mr Cohen and Dr James’ marriage certificate was witnessed by Baroness (Lynne) Featherstone, the originator and architect of the law which brought same-sex marriage to England and Wales. Baroness Featherstone also participated in a Jewish blessing that took place after the civil marriage.
As Minister for Equalities in the coalition government, Baroness Featherstone championed the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, ensuring that lesbian and gay couples in England and Wales won the right to wed.
The marriage was also witnessed by Subodh Rathod, who along with his husband Niranjan Kamatkar was one of the first same-sex couples to marry in the country.
The happy couple celebrated with pride umbrellas and a rainbow love train in front of delighted guests.
The civil marriage ceremony, which took place before the Jewish portion of the wedding, included a reading of the ruling – written by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy – which legalised same-sex marriage in the US in 2015.
The judge wrote: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.
“In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.
It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfilment for themselves.
“Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilisation’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
His ruling ended with the immortal phrase: “It is so ordered.”
Photos by Paul Grace.