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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 February, 2005, 10:45 GMT
Gay engagement announced in Times
A gay couple have become the first same-sex pairing to announce their engagement in the Times forthcoming marriages column.

In the announcement John O'Connor, 33, and Mark Jones, 41, of Islington, say they plan to wed after legislation acknowledging gay unions is passed.

The couple are planning a civil union followed by a blessing at a west London Anglican church, the Times reported.

The legislation is expected to be passed later this year.

There are parallels (to marriage) in terms of equality and validity of our relationship
Dr Mark Jones

Dr Jones, a psychiatrist, and Mr O'Connor, a travel agent, met after a five-month relationship over the internet, the paper reported.

Dr Jones told the Times: "I do not think a civil partnership is the same as marriage because marriage is, in a sense, about children.

"But there are parallels in terms of equality and validity of our relationship.

"We have lived together for 17 months and John has loved me through the ups and downs of quite a serious illness."

The paper said the couple had drawn up a pre-nuptial agreement over Dr Jones's earnings.

The announcement in the Times reads: "A period of engagement is announced between Mr John Christopher O'Connor and Dr Mark Brian Jones, both of Islington, north London.

"Following the enactment of the `Civil Partnership' legislation, expected later this year, the couple will announce the time and location of both the civil union and subsequent church blessing ceremonies to interested parties."

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