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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 July, 2005, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
City offers same-sex ceremonies
Same-sex couples in Cumbria are being offered the chance to exchange vows in ceremonies at register offices.

The Civil Partnership Act allows same-sex couples to sign an official document in front of the registrar and two witnesses.

But it leaves certain elements subject to local discretion, including whether any ceremony is offered.

Cumbria County Council voted on Tuesday to offer civil partnerships with ceremonies at all its register offices.

The decision allows same-sex couples to make a formal, legal commitment to each other, from December 2005.

Ian Stewart, council spokesman for the Registrars Service, said: "Cumbria County Council celebrates diversity and aims to ensure that everyone in the county is treated with equity, tolerance and respect.

"Same-sex couples rightly expect the same level of service that we offer to couples entering a traditional marriage. Today we have demonstrated that we are a progressive, forward thinking council, committed to furthering that expectation."

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