My Big Gay Wedding

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With the legislation entitling same-sex couples to a civil partnership, there's been a rush of gay partners registering to tie the knot...

My Big Gay Wedding
High-profile celebs Elton John and David Furnish trailblazed the way for gay unions on the 21 December 2005 - the day it all became official. Sir Elt characteristically pulled out all the stops and swopped sparklers with Dave at the same Windsor-based registry office as Charles and Camilla. Natch. Nothing but the best for rockstar royalty... The reception was a paparazzo's wet dream with more celebs than you could shake a pink cocktail stirrer at - the likes of Victoria Beckham, the Osbornes, Ringo Starr, Lulu, Donatella Versace and Claudia Schiffer were all stuck in a traffic jam queuing up to get to the wedding party of the year. More recently TV style gurus Phillip Turner and Gary Cockerill granted OK! magazine exclusive rights to their tasteful bash - resplendent in pristine white suits and complete with cutesy spaniel Dolly as maid of honour, the boys had Liberty X and Barbara Windsor on the guest list, as well as Katie formally-known-as-Jordan Andre, Emma Noble and Melinda Messenger among their bridesmaids. [quote]And it's not just same-sex 'slebs who are keen to make it official... Gay UK capital Brighton conducted 198 ceremonies before the end of 2005, and has taken 510 bookings for the coming months, thought to be the highest in the country. Nationwide, it's been predicted that some 4,500 couple will get 'partnered' within the first year of the new legislation... Cue the sudden explosion of gay wedding planners - eager to exploit the pink pound - along with the inevitable slew of merchandising ('Darling, Dearest, Queerest' embroidered towel-and-soap sets at Superdrug, and Asda's His 'n' His/Hers 'n' Hers wedding cards). All good, clean, camp fun, but what really motivates a couple to take that step further and go for a civil partnership?

'This is an important piece of legislation that gives legal recognition to relationships which, until now, were invisible in the eyes of the law,' says Meg Munn, minister for equality. 'It accords people in same-sex relationships the same sort of rights and responsibilities that are available to married couples.' Alan Wardle, of gay campaign group Stonewall, said the importance of the change should not be underestimated. 'Society now legally recognises gay relationships for the first time.' Just as married couples expect part of their pension, and all of their assets, to be transferred to their spouse on death, this will now also apply to gay couples in civil partnerships. Brighton-based comedienne, Zoe Lyons, jokes bleakly that her reason for getting registered is: 'So that Sindy has permission to turn off my life-support machine if it all gets too grim.' Er, romantic. Seriously, though...

'Sindy and I have been together for seven and a half years and have been thinking about it for some time. Obviously, it makes certain things a lot easier, what with property rights, etc.' 'But, above all, we love each other and are life partners - so why should we not have all the things that go along with that? It just makes sense.' Zoe feels the idea of a more official same-sex partnership has been recognised because the concept of a 'normal' family just doesn't exist anymore. 'Family set-ups and units have changed so much, it's about time society reflected that.' The couple have booked Brighton register office for the middle of March. 'We're having gorgeous rings made. We both wanted something that could take someone's eye out.' 'But what's funny is we're having the classic, cliched arguments about guest lists and finer details,' says Zoe. 'It seems it's impossible to organise any kind of wedding without falling out!'

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