2 mums make a right: Brighton celebrates UK’s first ever gay marriages

Brighton ushers in a new era of equality for same sex relations.


In the early hours of Saturday 29th March, Brighton’s very own Andrew Wale and Neil Allard were amongst the first gay couples in England and Wales to become legally married.

Brighton is a city which traditionally celebrates gay pride, and with Sussex Uni’s very own LGBTQ as one the longest established student groups of its kind in the UK, I couldn’t think of a more suitable location to mark this historic occasion.

Sussex Uni’s LGBTQ is one of our strongest societies, boasting over 300 active members. The society has a history to be proud, setting in motion ideas of liberation and inclusion ahead of their time. It was Sussex students who helped organise the first ever world renowned Brighton Gay Pride march in July 1973, which in 2010, played host to over 160,000 – a remarkable progression since the less-than-liberal 70s.

Now, just a month after Sussex Uni’s annual LGBTQ history month, this overdue legislation comes as welcomed news to our university.

The wedding took place in the iconic Royal Pavilion, where shortly after midnight the couple exchanged vows – uniting the two as “husband and husband”.

Afterwards, the couple spoke to CNN, “When we were born, it was illegal to be gay, let alone get married… I think it’s important to make these kinds of statements, to be visible, to be proud of who you are and what you are,” Andrew Wale. Neil Allard went on to describe how he felt “privileged and lucky” to be getting married.

Although Civil Partnership has been legal since 2005, it was only as the clock struck 12 that The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 has finally come into full effect.

Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted his congratulations the other morning:

He wrote exclusively for Pink News, “In Britain it will no longer matter whether you are straight or gay – the State will recognise your relationship as equal.”

It is an accumulation of acts (such as the ones seen from our former 70’s students) which have helped contribute to the remarkable achievement we have witnessed today and I have no doubt that Sussex will continue to support and push for equality for all.

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