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Same-sex marriage has been legal in parts of the UK since 2013.

The laws changed in the early twenty-teens to make gay marriage legal. However, the timetable was different for all parts of the UK.

gay marriage became law in 2013
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Gay marriage or same-sex marriage has been legal in part of the UK since 2013 when the law was changed to allow partners of the same sex to marry. England and Wales were the first nations of the UK to permit same-sex marriage when the law changed in July 2013.  Royal Assent was given by the Queen on the 17th July 2013 for English and Welsh same-sex marriages. The first same-sex marriage in England took place on the 13 March 2014.

In Scotland, the legislation took a little longer and gay marriage was given Royal Assent on 12th March with the first weddings taking place on 16th December 2014.

Is gay marriage legal in all parts of the UK now?


In Northern Ireland, same-sex marriage didn’t become law until only recently after a long contentious battle.

Northern Ireland held out in make gay marriage legal
The DUP held back LGBT+ rights in Northern Ireland vote against gay marriage every time it became before the courts to become law. In total, they voted against it five times. Eventually, it was made law in 2020.

Northern Ireland made gay marriage legal in January 2020 after a long and drawn-out legal clash between activists, human rights lawyers and the DUP. There were numerous attempts, in fact, there were five attempts to make gay marriage legal in NI since 2012.

The subject of same-sex marriage was voted on five times by the Northern Ireland Assembly. Each time it was blocked by the DUP.


There are a lot of differences between civil partnerships and marriages. You can read about them here.

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Are you planning a wedding? Check out our gay wedding guide for the best services and planners.

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