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First Same-Sex Marriages Take Place

The first same-sex marriages in UK history have taken place across England and Wales.

Gay and lesbian couples rushed to take advantage of the change in law, which came into force on the stroke of midnight between March 28th and 29th.

Politicians from all main parties, excluding the UK Independence Party, hailed the development and claimed that it would be a positive change for families across the country.

Previously, LGBT couples could enter civil partnerships that are very similar to marriages, but have a number of small differences that some campaigners argued meant that gay people were short-changed when it came to some aspects of family law and probate.

David Cameron, who was one of the key backers of the bill, told Pink News, "This weekend is an important moment for our country."

Scotland has similar plans in development and it is expected that the first gay couples will be able to wed north of the border at some point in October 2014 after laws were passed at Holyrood.

Northern Ireland, which is more socially conservative than the UK mainland, has no plans to follow suit.

Nick Clegg, the first political party leader to back full gay marriages as a manifesto pledge, said, "If our change to the law means a single young man or young woman who wants to come out, but who is scared of what the world will say, now feels safer, stronger, taller, well, for me, getting into coalition government will have been worth it just for that."

However, not everyone is happy about the new development.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said it is wrong of the government to try and redefine marriage, arguing the law change is "self-centred".

But despite objections from some religious groups, Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, said the Church of England would drop its opposition to gay marriage and would accept the new rules.

"The law's changed; we accept the situation," Mr Welby told the BBC.

By Chris Stevenson