Couple Make History with Union; City Church Hosts Civil Partnership

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Byline: GEMMA JALEEL

A MERSEYSIDE gay couple made history by becoming the first in the UK to celebrate a civil partnership in a religious building.

Kieran Bohan and Warren Hartley, from the Princes Park area of Toxteth, signed the register at Ullet Road Unitarian Church on the day of their blessing.

The church received final confirmation from Liverpool council that it could register civil partnerships in its Grade I-listed building just a week before the couple's big day.

Plans to allow religious buildings to host civil ceremonies were announced in February last year, but the legislation was only implemented in December after public consultation.

Kieran, 41, who runs a youth group, told the ECHO: "The pace of change is extraordinarily remarkable, but there is still work to be done. There has been a lot of controversy over the government's consultation over the equality of marriage and civil partnerships.

"When we booked our blessing over a year ago we had no idea this would be possible. We are delighted to have achieved this milestone on the road to equality."

The pair originally planned to go to the register office the day before the blessing.

Warren, 36, who works as an administrator and is originally from Sydney, said: "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."

Around 150 people attended the service, which the couple wrote themselves using various Christian traditions.

Kieran and Warren have been together for four-and-ahalf years and met through their involvement in groups for gay people of faith in Liverpool. …