Couple plan same sex marriage in Hitchin after law change

Jane Lombari and Katie-Jayne Bethell are getting married at The Sun Hotel in Hitchin on May 24

Jane Lombari and Katie-Jayne Bethell are getting married at The Sun Hotel in Hitchin on May 24 - Credit: Archant

With a change in the law allowing same sex couples to get married, the Comet has spoken to two women who will be tying the knot next month.

There are currently eight same sex couples seeking to get married in North Hertfordshire, following a change in UK law which came into effect on Saturday.

Among them is Jane Lombari, 46, and Katie-Jayne Bethell, 26, who are preparing for their big day at The Sun Hotel in Hitchin on May 24.

The pair, who met at the hotel in 2010, were originally going to enter into a civil partnership but decided to wait for marriage to be legalised.

Ms Lombari said: “We met at a gay night they used to hold a few years ago at the hotel. The DJ was our mutual friend Keith, who will be DJ-ing at our wedding too.

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“I’m really excited about the whole thing. We have been planning it for the last two years so everything is finished now and we just want to get on with it.

“I never thought I’d get married because I had a Catholic upbringing, I took communion when I was younger but at that age you go along with things because you don’t want to get left behind.

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“We’re not having any religious involvement in the ceremony. I know everyone’s entitled to their opinion and beliefs but I don’t know how some people get away saying some of the things they do.

“Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to get married. I pay the same taxes and obey the same laws as everybody else so I should be entitled to get married.”

Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews was the first person in North Herts to enter into a civil partnership – which has a similar legal status to a marriage but is not solemized by words and never has any religious invovlment – with his partner Tony on December 21, 2005.

He said: “We are planning on doing something at the end of the year to celebrate the eighth anniversary of our civil partnership.

“It’s been long overdue but I welcome the move which finally puts every marriage on an equal par.”

The law has proved controversial with many backbench Conservative MPs voting against the bill and religious organisations opposing same sex marriage.

The Church of England is exempt and others, including the Catholic Church of England and Wales, and the Muslim Council of Britain are refusing to marry same sex couples.

Some smaller churches, including the Quakers, are now marrying couples.

Stephen Whiting, warden of the Stevenage Quaker Meeting House in Cuttys Lane, said: “We don’t have any plans to marry any same sex couples at the moment and they would have to be members of the Quakers but we have always supported it because we believe that love is beyond gender.

“When two people are in love and want to commit themselves to each other it is something special which should be celebrated regardless of whether they are gay or straight.”

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