Gay marriage law ‘positive’ step forward

Andrew Peat, 40 and Steven Gibbon, 55
Andrew Peat, 40 and Steven Gibbon, 55
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A Blackpool couple who plan to marry after the law allowing same-sex partners to wed was passed have hailed its legalisation.

At the stroke of midnight on Friday, gay couples across the UK married in ceremonies after campaigning to have their unions recognised by law.

Andrew Peat, 40, and partner Steve Gibbon, 55, of central Blackpool, will marry in May at Festival House on the resort’s Promenade.

They said the move was a “positive step” but added those in civil partnerships – introduced in 2005 to provide gay couples with the same legal rights as heterosexual partners – may face a wait to become legally married.

Andrew, who works as a customer advisor for Tesco said: “We always wanted to get married, we’ve waited 17 years to get to this stage. We have a few friends who have had civil partnerships, but they will now have to effectively become annulled to get married. We never went down the route of a civil partnership, but for those who did you can’t convert into marriage straight away.”

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act came into force in July last year, but it was not until March couples were able to register their intention to marry under the Act for the first time. Andrew and Steve hope the move to marry will help them as they enter into the early stages of fostering. Steve, who works at the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in Preston added: “Same-sex marriages put us on a level footing. A civil partnership was just a legal way of two people being together.

“It is a positive step forward, more so than civil partnerships. It has been a long time coming.”

Coun John Jones, Blackpool Council cabinet member for equality, said: “I welcome the passing into law of the Marriage Act 2013 which allows same sex couples to be married. It is a huge step forward and a long time coming in achieving equality between couples of the same sex and couples who are of the opposite sex. 
“It’s just another step towards equality for all, I hope this sends a message out to all those other countries who still feel it is acceptable to do otherwise. I wish all the people getting married under the new law a lifetime of happiness.”