BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 5 September, 2001, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
Mayor attends gay 'marriage'
Couples on the London Partnerships Register celebrate
Ken Livingstone joined the couples' celebrations
Two London couples have "married" in a ceremony watched by mayor Ken Livingstone.

Their relationships were formally noted under the London Partnerships Register, an initiative set up by the mayor, Ken Livingstone.

Playwright Linda Wilkinson, 49, and IT consultant Carol Budd, 48, from Bethnal Green, said signing the London Partnerships Register was a political statement.

The ceremony was watched by friends of the couple and members of the media.

Linda Wilkinson and Carol Budd
Linda and Carol at their registration ceremony

Holding hands as they stood in front of 25 guests, Ms Wilkinson and Ms Budd said they did not believe the ceremony was a wedding.

"We are not doing this to ape heterosexual marriage.

"We are doing this because we believe it is another nail in the coffin of the prejudice that denies us our fundamental rights as human beings and makes us second class citizens in our own country."

Together forever

Ian Burford and Alexander Cannell, of south London, were the first couple to register their relationship of 38 years.

Mr Burford and Mr Cannell were dressed in white suits for their five-minute ceremony conducted by Rob Coward, a specially-trained officer with Greater London Authority.

Mr Burford thanked Mr Livingstone and the gay rights campaigner Angela Mason for championing equality under the law.

He said: "Throughout that 38 years I have the love, friendship and support of Alex and throughout what ever years are left to us, he knows that he has my love, friendship and support."

Couples taking part in the ceremony will receive a certificate but the register will not be made available to the public for confidentiality reasons.

The Greater London Authority is the first public body in the country to recognise same-sex relationships as being on a par with heterosexual partnerships.

Mr Livingstone said: "Although our register is only a small step on the road to equality, I would like it to act as a trigger for real change."

Heterosexual couples will also be able to put their names on the register which is intended to be self-financing at a cost of 85.

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

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Navdip Dhariwal
"When one of the couples first met homosexuality was illegal"

Talking PointTALKING POINT
Gay vows
Should the law recognise same sex relationships?
 VOTE RESULTS
Should the law recognise same-sex relationships?

Yes
 69.22% 

No
 30.78% 

3337 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes