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Same sex couples prepare to marry in Northampton

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Preparations are being made for the first same sex marriages which will take place in Northampton in March.

Following a change in the law, which comes into place at the end of the month, Northamptonshire County Council has received a surge in marriage enquiries from couples.

Deputy leader of the county council and cabinet member for customers and communities, councillor Heather Smith, said: “This is excellent news for same sex couples across the county and we have already received scores of enquiries from gay couples seeking to tie the knot.

“In November 2010, our registration service, along with several other UK registration services, received a request to be married from Northampton-based same-sex couple Scott Maloney and Matt Toresen.

“The couple were supported by the Peter Tatchell Foundation and filmed by a BBC TV crew.

“They attempted to give their Notices of Marriage and had to be refused on the grounds that marriage was, at that time, legally only recognised as being between one man and one woman.

“When the change in law was announced our registration service team called Scott, who was delighted. The following day he booked his wedding to Matt, which will take place on the first day of the law change, March 29.”

Northamptonshire Registration Service is offering same sex couples who have booked a civil partnership before March 29 the chance to delay their ceremony so it can become a wedding instead.

It has also contacted all 44 of the same sex couples who have already made a booking and most who replied opted for a marriage ceremony.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said “Matthew and Scott are pioneers of marriage equality. “In 2011, they were part of the Equal Love legal case in the European Court of Human Rights, which challenged the ban on same-sex marriage.

“This challenge helped persuade the government to legalise marriage for same-sex couples. I wish them well on their special, historic day.”

In December last year, the Government announced the introduction of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act which will come into place on March 29th.

Up to this point, same sex couples have only had their relationship recognised in law by forming a civil partnership.

For more information, visit Northamptonshire Registration Service website www.yourdaynorthants.com.

 

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