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Monday, 6 August, 2001, 18:04 GMT 19:04 UK
'Gay marriage' on way for London
Lesbians getting married in the Netherlands
"And the brides wore..." Coming soon to London?
Same-sex and heterosexual couples in London will soon be able to register their relationship in marriage-style ceremonies.

Mayor Ken Livingstone has established the London Partnerships Register for unmarried couples.

He hopes it will be a step towards giving all couples the same partnership status as married couples.

Mr Livingstone believes the scheme could help partners in wrangles over issues such as housing, taxation, inheritance rights, pensions, immigration and family law.

Although the register will not confer any legal rights, it could be used as additional evidence in legal disputes.

Certificate

The register - the first of its kind in the UK - was one of Mr Livingstone's electoral pledges.

Mr Livingstone said: "I hope that other cities will follow suit and that other organisations will accept it as a proof of a relationship."

Gay wedding in Germany
In Germany, the first gay couples tied the knot this month
The scheme will start in September, but couples may apply to register now.

The register is open to all unmarried, unrelated couples of legal age, where one person is resident in the capital.

The Greater London Authority says space at its buildings in Romney House, central London, will be provided for the ceremony.

There will be room for guests, and there will be time for a short ceremony for those who want it.

The partners will then receive a certificate confirming that their relationship has been registered.

See also:

01 Aug 01 | Europe
Germany legalises gay marriage
01 Apr 01 | Europe
Dutch gay couples exchange vows
18 Sep 00 | UK
Gay marriage: In the pink
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