Deputy Prime Minister orders rainbow flag to be flown to celebrate first same-sex weddings

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

PinkNews Exclusive
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has ordered the rainbow flag to be flown at Whitehall in order to mark the historic arrival of equal marriage in England and Wales this weekend, PinkNews can reveal.

On Saturday 29 March, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act for England and Wales comes into force. Scores of same-sex weddings will take place at the stroke of midnight.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told “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.

“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 decision was made jointly with the support of Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude.

He said: “It’s great that from this Saturday all couples across England and Wales will be able to celebrate their commitment by getting married. To mark this, the Cabinet Office will be flying the rainbow flag this weekend.”

Yesterday, at Deputy PMQs in the Commons, the Liberal Democrat leader spoke of his pride and excitement at the pending arrival of equal marriage.

Mr Clegg said: “I hope it’s a day the nation will never forget. I think it’s a great, great step forward for us all”.

The rainbow flag will be flown at the top of the Cabinet Office and the Scotland Office from Friday afternoon until Monday morning.

Same-sex couples in Scotland will be able to marry in the country by the end of 2014, following this month’s Royal Assent of Scotland’s equal marriage law.

Northern Ireland is now the only remaining UK nation where equal marriage has not been legalised.

Writing for PinkNews in December last year, Nick Clegg said “I couldn’t be prouder” of the Government’s equal marriage legislation.

The rainbow flag was flown above Whitehall for the first time by Mr Clegg in 2012.

Mr Clegg told PinkNews in May 2013 that he wanted to see other Government departments doing the same during moments of key significance for the LGBT community.