Here come the brides Today, we have a piece of new legislation that makes the country better, not worse. And that’s not something you can say every day.

As of today, gay couples can register their partnership and receive the same kind of legal rights as heterosexual married couples. The law has been in place since November last year, but changes to all the applicable administrative systems have taken time. From now on, civil ceremonies between same-sex couples will be officially recognised.

Here come the grooms Of course, the government has wriggled out of using the word “wedding” in the Civil Partnerships Act, presumably to alleviate the concerns of those upstanding citizens who feel two people promising to love and take care of one another for life is an abomination.

But the sophistry of calling it “registration” rather than “marriage” doesn’t hide the fact that this is one of the biggest British civil rights gains in recent times. Over the last few years, ministers have seemed more comfortable eroding their constituents’ liberties than increasing them. This is a positive step indeed.

Loved up Couples who register their partnership – and let’s refer to it as “marry” regardless, shall we – will be assessed for benefits, immigration and state pension rights as a couple. They will be able to succeed tenancy agreements in the event of one outliving the other. They will receive due compensation in the event of an accident. They will be recognised under inheritance laws. If they choose to split, they will need to dissolve their partnership through the courts, just as straight married couples do. If they have children, the absent parent will have rights of contact.

So I’m looking forward to the summer already, when I hope to get twice as many wedding invitations as usual. I think I’d better splash out on an outlandishly chic hat.