Herts’ ceremonies capture gay hearts

PUBLISHED: 15:38 31 August 2006 | UPDATED: 10:48 06 May 2010

North Herts Council’s archaeology officer  Keith Matthews (right) and Tony Fitzpatrick after their partnership ceremony on the very first day last December

North Herts Council’s archaeology officer Keith Matthews (right) and Tony Fitzpatrick after their partnership ceremony on the very first day last December

COMET country is the most popular place for same-sex couples to marry. More than 160 same-sex couples have tied the knot in Hertfordshire since new laws came into effect last December compared with 48 in Bedfordshire. Of the 160 in Herts, 30 took place in

COMET country is the most popular place for same-sex couples to marry.

More than 160 same-sex couples have tied the knot in Hertfordshire since new laws came into effect last December compared with 48 in Bedfordshire.

Of the 160 in Herts, 30 took place in Stevenage and North Herts.

Hertfordshire is now among the top 20 most popular destinations in England and Wales for same-sex ceremonies, according to statistics from the General Register Office.

Graham Howard, team leader of Hitchin and Stevenage Register Office, said: "These partnerships give couples comparable rights to married couples so are very important.

"But the couples are also just delighted to be able to formally recognise their relationship and appreciate the service we have provided.

"The ceremony we do is popular - one local couple who were going to Wales for their ceremony saw what we offer and asked the register office in Wales to replicate it!"

The Civil Partnership Act came into force on December 5 last year and affords same sex couples the same rights as married couples in areas such as tax, social security, inheritance and work benefits.

County councillor Keith Emsall, executive member with responsibility for registration services, said: "I am pleased that so many couples have chosen a Hertfordshire venue for their big day.

"We are proud of the locations we are able to offer couples who are getting married or registering a civil partnership and it is good to know so many people agree with us."

Across England and Wales same-sex couples have formed more than 6,500 civil partnerships.


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