Gay and lesbian couples across Northamptonshire begin converting civil partnerships into marriages

Jennifer and Jackie West are one of hundreds of same-sex couples across the country to have converted their civil partnerships into a marriage this week.
Jennifer and Jackie West are one of hundreds of same-sex couples across the country to have converted their civil partnerships into a marriage this week.

Gay and lesbian couples across Northampton have been celebrating after converting their civil partnerships into marriages thanks to a change in the law this week this week.

From Wednesday more than 500 same-sex couples across the county became eligible to ‘upgrade’ their existing civil partnerships into a full marriage after the second part of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, came into force.

Northampton newlyweds Jackie and Jennifer West, of Briar Hill, enjoyed a low-key ceremony at the Guildhall on Thursday - though hundreds came to their original civil partnership two-and-a-half years ago.

Jackie said: “We have been wanting to get it done for so long

“It’s great that now we are classed as equals.

“At the end of a civil partnership the registrar says ‘I now pronounce you civil partners’.

“But to hear the registrar pronounce us ‘wife and wife’ was brilliant.”

Jackie, 42, met wife Jennifer during a blind date back in 2003 and the couple enjoyed a civil partnership ceremony at the Guildhall in June 2011, followed by a reception the Plough Hotel in which more than 200 people attended.

This time round the couple, who have three children between them from previous relationships, officially tied the knot in front of just a few family and friends before enjoying a take-away at home in the evening.

“I just don’t know how I feel about it - I don’t think it has sunk in.

“Even though we have ben partners for two and a half years, it just feels completely different.”

Further information on converting civil partnerships to marriages is available by visiting www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/registration.