Liverpool Men Are First Same-Sex UK Couple To Be Civilly Partnered In A Church

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, thatbringing 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.



Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #england #marriageequality #religion stories and more


  • Hyhybt

    More options are not a bad thing. And that’s all this is about: options. Churches have the option to host if they wish; they are not forced to do so, so religious objections are invalid. And likewise, couples have the option of finding a willing church if they want; they remain free to make other arrangements if they prefer, so LGBT folks have no grounds to complain either.

    Except for its still not being full marriage, of course.

  • Andy

    Why are people so servile as to want acceptance from the institutions that have hated them for so long?

  • Frank


  • blogshag

    @Andy: , Only because with the status of being married, you get certain rights, you don’t get as a single person.

  • Carl 1

    Ummm, what? Opposition from LGBT Brits to marriage equality? Where? Don’t confuse Stonewalls former position (they initially opposed equality) with that of the general LGBT population. Stonewall only recently adopted a position supporting equality, prior to that they were losing favour with the UK’s LGBT population for their support of inequality. I don’t know a single LGBT Brit opposed to equality. You should have seen the people lining up to sign the pro-equality petition at a recent pride :-)

  • Hyhybt

    @Carl 1: I get the idea there isn’t opposition of the “no way, we’d rather not have that option” kind, only people who think the effort would be better used another way.

  • oh123

    Like my mum and dad I will marry in a registry office, as in good old Liverpool in 60’s they did not like a Catholic and Protestant to be married in the same church unless some conversion crap happened

    A Church marriage is a religious ceremony and frankly why the F would I want to give credence to an organisation that wants you either dead/not exist or have any rights. But they will not doubt accept your money for venue use though. A civil union enjoys the same rights without the bullshit of a hypocritical religious one, who only spews hate, intolerance,fear and separatism to name a few joys that religion has brought to the world no matter what brand it is.

  • oh123

    One last point about this story is as an Aussie for over 30 years I find it almost sadly laughable that the Australian and his partner call it a “milestone for equality,” when we gay Aussies cant even be recognised in any type of union, he had to leave his own country and marry in the UK to be allowed to enjoy his and his partners “milestone” victory. But saying that I do wish them well and many happy years ahead together

  • Hyhybt

    @oh123: “A Church marriage is a religious ceremony and frankly why the F would I want to give credence to an organisation that wants you either dead/not exist or have any rights.”

    —You do know, don’t you, that not all churches fit that description?

  • the other Greg

    @Hyhybt: Right, this is a UNITARIAN church, they are about the most left-wing denomination there is, and barely even Christian – jeez, they chant Buddhist sutras and whatnot. The parking lot (if there even is one) at a Unitarian church will be the one with the beater Volvos and “Co-Exist,” anti-war and vegan bumper stickers. A lot of gay people like oh123 seem to pride themselves on their complete ignorance of comparative religion, and apparently history in general – which is hardly the same thing as being a committed atheist – and I wonder what if anything they learned about it in school.

  • Carl 1

    @Hyhybt: See, I didn’t get that from the article at all. The way it’s worded, it lumps the tiny handful within the LGBT community opposed to equality in with the extremist Christians, making it seem as though they share reasoning in opposition. More quality Queerty writing ;-)

  • robert in nyc

    The majority of Britons most certainly do support equal marriage and there is a little resistance from some LGBT people but they are a very small minority. A poll taken in March 2012 revelaed 65% of the British public support it, contrary to the spurious claims from religious cults. Therer are several Anglican bishops who have actually come out in support of equal marriage. The Unitarians, Quakers, Liberal and Reformed Judaism in the UK are fullly supportive of equal marriage and are prepared to marry a same-sex couple although the introduction of equal marriage won’t allow them once it becomes law and it will become law. Just like the way religious CPs were introduced, religious denominations will eventually follow the same path for those willing to perform same-sex marriages.

  • darkorient

    I’m baffled. Why would gays want a religious wedding for themselves? Unless it’s a religion with a holy book that says “oh come ye faithful and fuck your fellow men in the ass”.

  • Hyhybt

    @Carl 1: I didn’t get it from this article either, but from reading elsewhere.

  • Hyhybt

    @darkorient: There is nothing inherent in being gay that says God doesn’t exist or that’s contrary to the *core* beliefs of many churches.

    To people who believe, that’s an important part of our lives (even if we don’t actually spend much time on it.) I for one would not want to be married in a church that does not see my wedding as something to celebrate… but if I know one that does (and find a willing man) that would be meaningful. And, just as people work to change governmental laws they don’t like, people also work for change within churches. The process is different (in most of them) but it’s worthwhile if you otherwise value the institution. Which is centered nowhere near disapproval of gay people.

    It’s a bit like having a huge tree in your yard. The tree provides beauty year-round, much-needed shade in the summer, and perhaps even delicious fruit in the fall… but also has one limb that’s sticking out in the wrong place, blocking your walkway. If you don’t care about the other aspects anyway, you might well cut down the whole thing, but that doesn’t mean someone who *does* value those others shouldn’t deal with the in-the-way branch until such time as it can be removed without harming the rest.

  • oh123

    @the other Greg: Have you read the bible at all??? or the Koran, or have you got some tided up kindle version. This reply is not just aimed at your response but to all reactions to my comment about Religious wedding, they can be as nice as they want but their source book hates us and others.

  • the other Greg

    @oh123: I’m not a believer, and I really don’t give a sh*t; I merely find the history interesting. But here’s the Unitarian take on it: “We do not, however, hold the Bible – or any other account of human experience – to be either an infallible guide or the exclusive source of truth. Much biblical material is mythical or legendary.” – from “Our Unitarian Universalist Faith: Frequently Asked Questions.”

    I say score one for the Unitarians, since we’re not going to hear Catholics, Orthodox, Mormons or the vast majority of Protestant groups dismissing “much” of the Bible as “mythical or legendary.” Obviously, it is.

Comments are closed.