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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 December, 2003, 16:54 GMT
National Trust allows gay 'weddings'
Blickling Hall
Blickling Hall in Norfolk is one of the buildings in the scheme
The National Trust has agreed to allow five of its historic buildings to be used for same-sex "weddings".

The move will allow homosexual couples to have their relationships blessed at venues ranging from the 18th Century Temple of Venus at Stowe in Buckinghamshire to the early 17th Century Blickling Hall in Norfolk.

Other buildings include: Bodiam Castle in Sussex, Osterley Park in west London, and Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire.

The Trust has made the agreement for the use of the buildings with Pink Weddings, which provides blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples.

We are an organisation for everyone, and this fits in with our message.
National Trust spokesman

Gino Meriano, founder of Pink Weddings, told BBC News Online: "The National Trust has always been dear to me and I asked them about the use of buildings and there was nothing other than a positive reaction from them.

"We are offering the five buildings and although we have only just started we have already had interest."

Mr Meriano said if couples were interested in a ceremony at a different National Trust building, not included in the list above, he would talk to the trust about whether the venue could be used.

'Superb facilities'

He said the trust offered a wide variety of "beautiful and unusual venues".

"Many also provide superb facilities for the reception and photography afterwards," he added.

A spokesman for the National Trust said: "This scheme fits in very well with the fact we are an inclusive organisation.

"We are an organisation for everyone, and this fits in with our message."

The ceremonies offered by Pink Weddings are non-religious and non-statutory so do not require a civil licence.

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