December 13, 2014
Couple are first in Burnham to hold same-sex marriage ceremony

Burnham-On-Sea couple Beverley and Sarah Milner Simonds made history on Friday (12th December) when they converted their Civil Partnership to a Marriage at Burnham's Registry Office.

The County Superintendent Registrar, Michaela Bellwood, conducted the simple conversion - the first of its kind in Burnham.

It means the pair are now married and the date of their marriage was officially recorded as 8th July 2006, the date of their Civil Partnership.

Burnham has a visiting Registrar two days a week, but it isn't licensed for marriages.

It was thought until mid-October that conversions must take in the County Register Office. For Somerset this is the Taunton Office but at the last minute the legislation was changed and Registry Offices which are not licensed for Marriages are now permitted to carry out Conversions.

This was the first marriage ceremony to be conducted in Burnham's Registry Office.

Sarah told "We have campaigned for many years for equal marriage and we are very pleased to complete the final stage today ourselves, in our home town."

"It’s been almost nine months since the first same-sex couples were able to marry legally and its only right that couples in civil partnerships can now have their commitments recognised."

Beverley added: "Our wedding was eight wonderful years ago but until today our commitment was not recognised as equal before the law. Now our marriage certificate is recognised around the world and affords us equality in pensions and inheritance rights and recognition as next of kin."

A spokesperson for Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity, added: "Marriage and the possibility of converting a civil partnership is another step towards full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in Britain. Whilst there is still so much to be done to achieve full equality both here and abroad, these ceremonies will be a wonderful early Christmas present for many couples, their friends, and families."

A number of famous faces having being tying the knot this week in same-sex marriages across the UK. Among them was Mary Portas, the business entrepreneur and TV personality, who became one of the first to convert her civil partnership into a same-sex marriage.


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