British Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the first same-s*x marriages in England and Wales as sending a “powerful message” about equality on Saturday.
The law changed after midnight on Saturday, with a number of gay couples vying to claim the title of being the first to be married in Britain which would go to the couple to first say “I do”.
Cameron said the reform was necessary because “when people’s love is divided by law, it is that law that needs to change”.
“This weekend is an important moment for our country” because “we will at last have equal marriage in our country,” he wrote in the gay news service, Pink News.
“This is something that has been very important to me,” said Mr Cameron, who has faced opposition from some in the Conservative Party about his backing for the law.
The prime minister said he had been extremely lucky “the most incredible lifelong partner” in his wife Samantha.
“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 s*xuality. When people’s love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change.
Meanwhile gay couples across England and Wales wasted no time in tying the nuptial knot as the law authorising same-s*x marriage came into effect.
While 15 countries have legalised gay marriage and another three allow it in some areas, homos*xuality remains unacceptable in many parts of the world, especially Africa.
The Church of England, insisting weddings should take place only between a man and a woman, secured an exemption from the new law.
But Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the leader of the world’s 80 million Anglicans, said the Church had accepted the new law and would continue to demonstrate “the love of Christ for every human being”.