Hackney Council is hoping to conduct the first same sex ceremony in the UK on March 29, the day equal marriage becomes legal.
The Council obtained a license to wed a couple one minute after midnight on March 29, which could be one of the first same-sex marriages in the UK, and recently called for a couple to come forward to be married at any of its licensed venues, including Hackney Town Hall, Stoke Newington Town Hall and Clissold House.
Councillor Sophie Linden, Hackney’s Deputy Mayor, on the Council’s website says: “Our registrars have been conducting Civil Partnership Ceremonies since they became legal in 2005, and they’re really looking forward to conducting marriages which will give same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. Many people will have been waiting a long time for this, so we’re especially excited to potentially hold one of the very first ceremonies. It will be a very happy – and historic – moment.”
To be considered for a civil union, partners must make an appointment at a register office and submit required documents.
The move, however, has been criticised by those who feel there are more pressing needs faced by LGBTs, and that the council hasn’t done all it can for the gay community.
Terry Stewart, founder of Rainbow Hackney, a support organization for the LGBT community in the borough, said: “Whilst I welcome all acts of equality I think it is a cheap stunt on Hackney’s part to attempt to be the first borough to perform a same sex marriage.”
He added: “When there is a headline to be grabbed, they go all out for it. When it is a desperately needed service for the LGBT community, Hackney is nowhere to be seen.”
Mr Stewart instead called for more facilities and services for all members of the LGBT community, in particular safe spaces for young people to meet and socialise.
The legislation making same-sex marriage legal in the UK received Royal Assent in July. Initially it was believed that the first marriage would not take place until this summer, but Equalities Minister Maria Miller announced in December that the first same-sex weddings could take place on March 29.