25 March 2014

Marriage law change to be celebrated this weekend

The first same sex marriage in Brighton & Hove will take place just after midnight on 29 March. This Saturday is the date for the change in the law allowing same sex couples the right to marry. In Brighton & Hove, a total of five couples will be married on the first day the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act comes into effect.

Cllr Leo Littman, lead councillor for City Services, said: “I’d like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to all the same sex couples who are getting married on this historic occasion. Like so many others, they’ve been waiting for the law to give them the right to do something which heterosexual couples have always been able to take for granted. Now that this right has been extended to same-sex couples, I hope that many more people will choose our city as the place to tie the knot.”

The first wedding, at one minute after midnight on 29 March, will see Andrew Wale and Neil Allard married in the Royal Pavilion. Their wedding will be the first marriage ceremony to take place in the former palace’s Music Room which was only licensed last year. Their wedding has already been attracting a lot of attention in the media.

Andrew said: “As our wedding day draws closer, we become even more aware of how lucky we are to live in a comparatively tolerant part of the world. While we were having our picture taken by a press photographer yesterday in front of the Pavilion, the usual crowds of tourists, students and locals came and went. It must have been obvious to anyone that we were a couple; we held hands, hugged each other and looked in to each other’s smiling eyes. All the reactions from this parade of strangers were either indifferent or positive - some young people put their thumbs up and shouted “Cheese!”, some asked if they could have their photo taken with us - lots of smiles, lots of warmth.”

Later on Saturday morning, Philip and James will be the first couple to be married at Brighton Town Hall.

Philip and James said: "When the news broke that Same-Sex Marriage had been legalised in the UK, like many other same-sex couples and individuals, we were so happy to learn that the years of campaigning and suffering for equality had finally had the desired effect. We knew that we would make our day as special as possible but to be part of the history by having our wedding on the day it is legal would make it all the more special as we always wanted to be remembered for something and it now looks like this will be it!"

The Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus will be performing at the ceremony adding a celebratory musical element to the celebrations.

Paul Charlton, chairman of Brighton Gay Men's Chorus, said: "This is such an exciting occasion for us all! It's within our objectives as a registered charity to promote equality and diversity, and it almost goes without saying that equal marriage is a major step forward for same sex couples in the battle against discrimination. We were lucky enough to have performed at one of the first ever civil partnerships back in 2005, and our members are over the moon to be taking part in this historic occasion."

There are three other same sex couples marrying later during the day. And everyone is celebrating in their own way.

Nikki and Tania said: "All of the people that we love will be coming to our fabulous home town to celebrate with us as we affirm our love and commitment to each other by way of marriage. We are honoured to be a part of this historical step towards equality".

Sarah and Emma said: "We are really excited to be getting married in Brighton on 29th March.  The changes in law have been a long time coming and we're so happy that we are making history by being one of the first same-sex couples to marry.  We are emigrating to New York in April so we are really grateful that are friends and family are able to see us tie the knot before we go.  It means a lot to us and we can now begin this exciting next chapter of our lives together."

The fifth couple choosing to marry on the historic day have opted for a very low key and private ceremony. Each wedding is unique to the couples involved and will mark a milestone in marriage equality. 

Brighton & Hove City Council senior ceremonies registrar Trevor Love, said: “This will be a momentous and historic day for the Registration Service in England and Wales, and for all of those couples making their marriage vows together. Brighton & Hove is a popular location for ceremonies and we have been busy keeping people up to date with the latest news about the introduction of same sex marriage. It is wonderful to see this law change being welcomed so enthusiastically in the city.”

More information:

  • Senior ceremonies registrar Trevor Love will conduct Andrew and Neil’s ceremony at the Royal Pavilion. Trevor also conducted the city’s first Civil Partnership in December 2005
  • Brighton & Hove is the second most popular location in the UK for Civil Partnerships. The most recent figures (2012) for CP formations in England and Wales issued by ONS are Westminster 224 (Female 53 Male 171) and Brighton & Hove 220 (Female 119 Male 101)
  • To find out about booking a ceremony in Brighton & Hove visit www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/registeroffice