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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 December 2005, 18:13 GMT
In pictures: Gay couples 'marry'

Shannon Sickles and Grainne Close

Shannon Sickles and Grainne Close became the first female couple to take advantage of the UK's new civil partnership ceremonies, at Belfast City Hall on Monday.

John Maguire and Laurence Scott-Mackay

John Maguire and Laurence Scott-Mackay were the first couple to exchange vows in a civil partnership ceremony in Scotland, with a ceremony in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

Sir Elton John and partner David Furnish

Sir Elton John and David Furnish joined hundreds of gay couples "marrying" in England and Wales on Wednesday. Sir Elton's mother and stepfather, and Furnish's parents, were among guests at the Guildhall in Windsor.

Gino Meriano and Mike Ullett

Gino Meriano and Mike Ullett had their civil ceremony in Brighton Town Hall, Sussex. The couple exchanged graphite and diamond rings in an emotional ceremony.

Terry George and Michael Rothwell celebrate their civil partnership

Terry George and Michael Rothwell held a Moulin-Rouge themed ceremony in Leeds, in their flat above their nightclub, Fibre. They have been together for 16 years.

Debbie and Elaine Gaston celebrate

Elaine and Debbie Gaston, performed their ceremony in Brighton Town Hall. The couple said the day was everything they hoped for. Debbie is a minister at Brighton Metropolitan Community Church. and hopes the Church will one day accept same-sex marriages.

Roger Lewis and Keith Wilmott Goodhall

Roger Lewis and Keith Wilmott Goodall, whose ceremony was at Brighton and Hove, said they were "ecstatic" same sex couples could now hold such a ceremony.

Malcolm Macourt and the Reverend Christopher Wardale

Malcolm Macourt and the Reverend Christopher Wardale, who is the vicar at Holy Trinity in Darlington, had a thanksgiving service in church after their civil partnership ceremony.

Sir Anthony Sher with partner Greg Doran

Actor Sir Antony Sher (right) with Greg Doran, chief associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, "tied the knot" in Islington, north London, after over 18 years together. Sir Anthony said: "It's wonderful".





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