The Daily Mail reports that Liverpool couple Kieran Bohan and Warren Hartley have the distinction of being the first same-sex couple in the UK to hold their civil-partnership ceremony in a house of worship.
Civil partnerships were introduced in England in 2005, but until now religious ceremonies had no binding authority. Gay couples who held a ceremony at a church or synagogue still had to visit a register’s office to make it legal—something heterosexual couples with a religious wedding did not.
Hartley, 36, and Bohan, 41, were wed at the Ullet Road Unitarian Church in Liverpool in May and are now on their honeymoon.
The couple, who described the event as a “milestone for equality,” only received council approval that the church could register civil partnerships a week before their big day.
Plans to allow religious buildings to host civil ceremonies were announced last February but the legislation was only implemented in December after public consultation.
Hartley, who is Australian, told the Mail, that “bringing the two elements together means we are able to integrate our sexuality and our spirituality, to celebrate our love for each other and our love of God.”
While efforts are under way to bring marriage equality to the United Kingdom, it has met some resistance from both conservatives and LGBT Britons.