Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Our Love

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Our Love

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jamie Diffley

Gay couple, who never dreamt the day would come, register for wedding

A couple who were among the first on Tyneside to register for a same-sex civil ceremony, today told of their love and hope that more gay partners follow their lead.

Vicar Christopher Wardale and retired Northumbria University lecturer Malcolm Macourt went to Newcastle Civic Centre yesterday to give their notice of intention as new legislation came into force.

The Civil Partnerships Act gives same-sex couples the right to register their union and entitles them to social security and pension benefits, parental responsibility for a partner's children and the same exemption as married couples on inheritance tax.

Couples have to give at least 15 days' notice before they can sign a civil partnership in the presence of a registrar and two witnesses.

Mr Wardale, 59, and Mr Macourt, 58, will return to the Civic Centre on December 21, the earliest date available, where they will be among the first gays in the country to "wed".

After their ceremony Mr Wardale, a former vicar of St Nicholas' Church, in Boldon Colliery, and Mr Macourt, of Gosforth, Newcastle, will attend a service of celebration at St Thomas' Church held by the former Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev David Jenkins.

From there, they will return to the Civic Centre's banqueting suite for a reception with friends and family.

The pair have waited 21 years for such a moment and are urging others to share their joy.

Mr Macourt said: "It's very important to us to do this and hope others feel they're able to do it too.

"People want to make a commitment to each other with rights and responsibilities and it's about time the state recognises and supports that. It's been that way when men and women get married for hundreds of years."

The couple also see the new legislation as recognition of a relationship, which had previously been shunned in law. …

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