Britain could see its first same-sex marriage on Thursday, 13 March 2014, two weeks earlier than previously reported.
Official guidance reveals that the U.K.'s first same-sex marriages could take place as early as Thursday, 13 March — but only in exceptional circumstances.
It had previously been thought that Britain's landmark first same-sex marriage would be on Saturday, 29 March.
But the guidance confirms that if one partner has a terminal illness or is about to be sent away on military service then they can apply to have the obligatory 15-day notice period waived and get married immediately.
This opens up the prospect of deathbed marriages taking place within hours of the law coming into effect on 13 March, as happened when civil partnerships were first introduced nine years ago.
Most same-sex couples will still have to wait until 29 March to get married.
The guidance states:
The Registrar General can allow a marriage to take place without the normal 15-day notice period where one of the couple is seriously ill and is not expected to recover, and in other urgent cases such as where a person is due to be deployed overseas in the armed forces. Such marriages of same sex couples will be possible from Thursday, 13 March 2014.