London • Britain's gay couples have taken a step forward — into the Middle Ages. Like blue-blooded families down the centuries, they can now have their own coats of arms.
The College of Arms, which has overseen noble titles and insignia since the 15th century, has ruled that same-sex married couples may join their heraldic symbols in the same way as heterosexual spouses.
The change follows the legalization of same-sex marriage, which took effect March 29.
Lancaster Herald Robert Noel, an officer of the college, said Friday that the change "seemed natural and logical."
He said that for centuries when a couple married, "the custom was to divide a shield vertically down the middle and place the arms of the husband on one side and the arms of the wife on the other." Now two men or two women can do the same.