A new era for sexual equality: Celebrating the first same sex marriages in England

I covered one of England’s first same sex marriages on March 29.

Although it was a great privilege, I wish that it was something that had been passed a long, long time before now.

Here’s my report of it below for The Huddersfield Daily Examiner – congratulations to all other couples who tied the knot that day and all those who plan to in the future, here’s to a new era of greater equality for all!

Helen Brearley and Teresa Millward sign the marriage papers

Helen Brearley and Teresa Millward sign the marriage papers

A Meltham couple were amongst the first in England and Wales to tie the knot to celebrate the landmark day same sex marriage was legalised.

Lovebirds Teresa Millward, 36 and Helen Brearley, 50, who  run Holmfirth T-shirt printing business Pretty Pink Pearl Ltd, took their vows at a historic ceremony at Halifax’s Spring Hall this morning.

The pair, who have  been engaged for ten years, said that they did not think that the day would ever come when they would be able to say ‘I do.’

Close friends joined the pair to watch them say their vows and swap rings, before they danced out of the room to swing music.

They were then showered with confetti as they kissed in the hall’s grounds.

Teresa said: “I can’t stop shaking.

“We’re really excited and can’t believe that it happened so quickly and we’re now married.

“We have been hoping for such a long time that this day would come and for it to happen under a Conservative-led government is a massive step forward.

“It shows that society’s attitude towards same sex couples is changing positively.

“We wanted to be able to say we were married to be considered as formally equal to a mixed sex married couple.

“It’s wonderful to think that any child born from this day on will grow up in a country where anyone can get married, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

 Politicians voted to pass a law to make same sex marriage legal in the eyes of the state last July, nine years after civil partnerships were legalised.

However,  it will be up to individual religious organisations as to whether they conduct the ceremony in their institutions.

Whilst faiths such as the Quaker movement,  Liberal Judaism and the Movement for Reform Judaism will marry same sex couples, Church of England ministers will be amongst those prohibited from taking such ceremonies.

Helen said: “It’s a step forward for equality, we’re not quite there yet it is very important.

“I think whether to allow same sex marriage is a personal decision for religious organisations but it is a shame that some religious couples are unable to currently get married within their place of worship.”

They will hold a private ceremony with 51 of their close friends and family at Durker Roods Hotel in Meltham next week.

Deputy superintendant registrar, Deborah Anderson, said: “It was a privilege to lead the ceremony and they are such a lovely couple.

“We have hoped that this law change would happen since civil partnerships were legalised.

“I don’t think that there was a dry eye in the house.”

Huddersfield couple Teresa Millward and Helen Brearley will be among the first in the UK to have a gay marriage once new laws are introduced
Huddersfield couple Teresa Millward and Helen Brearley will be among the first in the UK to have a gay marriage once new laws are introduced

You can read the full article and more of my work for the Huddersfield Daily Examiner here.

 

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