The rainbow flag symbolising the LGBT movement since the 1970 was due to be unfurled in Whitehall on Friday to mark Britain’s date with history as the first same-sex weddings are legally allowed to be held in various towns across the country from Saturday.
Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, has asked for the rainbow flag to be flown above the Cabinet Office and Scotland Office. The law on same-sex marriages – Marriage (Same Sex) Act passed in July 2013 – comes into force from Saturday.
The LGBT community is in celebration mode, but not everyone in Britain is looking forward to the milestone in gay pride movement. A BBC poll suggested that 20% adults would spurn invitations to same-sex marriages, while church groups reflected such uneasiness.
Clegg said, “As all the same sex couples make their vows this weekend, they will be making history. Finally, after years of campaigning, any couple who wants to get married can get married. Together we’ve made our country a place where we celebrate love equally, gay or straight – and for that reason we should all be raising a glass”.
He added, “Raising the rainbow flag on Whitehall is a small symbol to celebrate a massive achievement. I want to wish everyone getting married this weekend the very best of luck, on what is a truly momentous occasion”.
The rainbow flag is to be flown on the Cabinet Office and the Scotland Office from today (Friday) afternoon until Monday (31 March) morning.
Women and equalities minister Maria Miller said, “Marriage is one of our most important institutions, and from 29 March 2014 it will be open to everyone, irrespective of whether they fall in love with someone of the same sex or opposite sex”.
She added, “This is just another step in the evolution of marriage and I know that many couples up and down the country will be hugely excited that they can now plan for their big day and demonstrate their love and commitment to each other by getting married”.
Campaign groups in Britain had lobbied for same sex weddings for several years.
Same sex weddings in some British consulates and armed forces bases overseas will be possible, and arrangements for same sex weddings in military chapels will be in place, from June 2014, official sources added.