London, Feb 13 (ANI): For the first time in its history, the UK parliament is to allow members of the public, including gay couples, to get married there.
Westminster council has given approval for civil partnership ceremonies and marriages to be held in the Palace of Westminster.
The new licence means that Parliament is to open in its doors for anyone to get married there.
Until now only MPs, peers, certain parliamentary officials and their families were allowed to get married in Parliament.
However within weeks members of the public will be able to book their weddings on Parliament's website. If too many people apply, officials are likely to run a ballot to select the lucky couples.
Two rooms have been approved as the venues for the civil ceremonies.
The Jubilee Room, which overlooks Cromwell Green, has space for 80 people and the MPs' dining room, with views of the Thames, has space for 150.
Typically a couple will have to pay around 80 pounds to get married in Parliament, on top of a registrar fee - ranging from 390 pounds to 490 pounds- payable to Westminster council.
Authorities at the parliament are planning for weddings on 20 Saturdays every year. The licence to hold the weddings lasts for an initial two-year period.
John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons, who has championed gay rights, had led efforts to secure permission for his official residence, Speaker's House, to be used as a venue.
"I am really delighted that this licence has been awarded and that the public will have the opportunity to hold civil ceremonies at the House of Commons, the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
"This is a small but symbolic part of a wider initiative of opening up the parliamentary estate to the country at large. The House of Commons should be public property not a private club," he added. (ANI)