Ten couples tie the knot at 10 o’clock on the tenth
Ten couples are set to make history in Brighton & Hove when they are married at the same time on the first day the law allows.
All ten couples are civil partners and will be converting their existing civil partnerships into marriages at 10am on Wednesday 10 December 2014.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act came into effect at the start of the year, on Saturday 29 March 2014. At that time there was no legal way for couples in civil partnerships to be married. This inequality will be rectified when conversions begin this December for any civil partners who choose to take up the option to be married.
Cllr Ollie Sykes, lead councillor for city services, said: “This is another great day for Brighton & Hove in terms of marriage equality. I would like to congratulate the ten happy couples on their special day. And I would also like to thank all of the couples for helping us celebrate the final step in law towards marriage equality.”
All ten couples will be given a commemorative certificate to mark their involvement in the 10 December celebration.
Linda Holm, Brighton & Hove City Council Superintendent Registrar, said: “It has been an absolute privilege to lead the Registrar team through this year of historic changes in the law and to achieve greater equality for same sex couples.
“We have been contacted by many couples keen to book with us to convert their civil partnership to marriage. So we chose to offer the chance to be the first to do so to as many couples as possible. We have had an enormous amount of interest with bookings from about 150 couples so far. We are delighted that we are able to have such a key role in helping civil partners become legally married.”
Ian Scott and Ron Williams met in the 1960s and had no idea five decades ago that one day they would be legally able to marry.
Ian explained: “When I first met Ron in 1962 I knew that there was something special and I felt that we would be together for the rest of our lives. Never, ever, did I think that it would be possible for us to be married. Now here we are 52 years later about to do just that. At the time of our Civil Partnership in January 2006 it seemed as if that was as far as we could go. Not so. December 10th will be a very special day indeed.”
Ron echoes Ian’s sentiments, adding: “When I met Ian in the Spring of 1962, I would not, in my wildest dreams, have imagined that one day we would be able to marry. Now 52 years on, we will be able to have equality of opportunity with straight people. We must thank all the campaigners who struggled for LGBT equality over many years. Now we see some religions coming round to acceptance of gay marriage. Better late than never. Maybe a long wait for other cultures around the world to reach this stage.”
The ten couples to be married are:
1. Jim and Raymond, Civil Partners from December 2005, Bournemouth, Dorset
2. Ian and Ron, Civil Partners from January 2006, Brighton
Ian and Ron have been together 52 years
3. John and Ion, Civil Partners from May 2006 in High Wyecombe, Buckinghamshire
John and Ion have been together for 36 years
4. John and Aaron, Civil Partners from November 2007, Brighton Town Hall
5. Michael and Francis, Civil Partners from January 2008, Brighton Town Hall
6. Diane and Angela, Civil Partners from June 2010, Brighton Town Hall
7. Neil and Tom, Civil Partners from August 2011 in Sandon, Staffordshire
8. Peter and Philip, Civil Partners from December 2011, Wandsworth, London
Peter and Philip’s anniversary is on the 10 December
9. Krysten and Faye, Civil Partners from March 2013, Shoreditch, London
10. Paul and Peter, Civil Partnered June 2013, Brighton Town Hall
The couples have been invited to enjoy a champagne reception at Moshimo in Bartholomew Square after they are married (www.moshimo.co.uk).
All of the couples moving from civil partnership to marriage on 10 December have opted for a standard conversion. This is an administrative process where the couple meets with a registrar to complete a declaration in order for their marriage to begin.
There is no legal ceremony as part the conversion process. However Brighton and Hove are offering couples the opportunity to mark their conversion from civil partnership to marriage with an optional celebratory conversion ceremony. The conversion ceremony has no legal standing. Instead the occasion is about a couple sharing their happy news in the company of their loved ones with a registrar conducting the ceremony. Fees for ceremonies vary. Information is available online or by calling 01273 292016 and choosing Option 2.
More information on ceremony bookings or call 01273 292016
Couples do not need to return to the register office where they entered their civil partnership for a conversion, any register office can help couples in civil partnerships looking to become married from this December.
The Government has waived the conversion fees for couples who entered a civil partnership before equal marriage was possible. The fee waiver is available for the first year of conversions until 9 December 2015 and only available to couples who entered a civil partnership before 29 March 2014. The Government will cover the costs for a couple to meet with a registrar to convert their civil partnership into a marriage. However a new marriage certificate is not provided by the Government funding and will cost £4 per certificate.