Rainbow flags fly over government buildings to mark Britain's first same-sex weddings

The Associated Press

The rainbow flag, bottom right, a symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, flies alongside the British, left, and the Scottish flag over the British government's Scotland Office building, in central London, Friday, March 28, 2014, to mark the start of same-sex weddings in the UK from Saturday March 29, 2014. The British government has ordered rainbow flags to be flown over two prominent government buildings to mark the country’s first same-sex weddings, ahead of the law taking effect on Saturday. It marks a profound shift in attitudes in a country that little more than a decade ago had a law on the books banning the "promotion" of homosexuality. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Associated Press + More

In Britain, some argue that true equality won't have been reached until a gay couple can be married by a priest in Westminster Abbey, as Prince William and Kate Middleton were in 2011. Some gay-rights activists think embracing marriage is caving in to a heterosexist world order.

Still, Saturday feels momentous to couples including Laura Smith and Sarah Nutley, marrying at London's elegant Mayfair Library in a service that includes Britney Spears lyrics — Nutley is a fan — and quotes from "The Rocky Horror Show," which Smith loves.

"We're quite a traditional couple in a lot of senses, so we always wanted to get married," said Smith, a 25-year-old office manager from Boise, Idaho who moved to London six years ago. She met her 30-year-old British partner at work — "She thought I was an obnoxious American and I thought she was a bit standoffish."

They recently celebrated their fifth anniversary, but were never tempted to have a civil partnership.

"As much as civil partnership does give the couple the same benefits as marriage ... it's not the same," said Smith.

___

Jill Lawless can be reached at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.