The executive committee of Bromley Council has reversed their previous decisions on allowing civil partnership ceremonies to take place in their buildings. The leader of the Conservative controlled council had previously vowed to refuse couples to have a ceremony in their properties.

The move comes after Ken Livinstone (pictured), the Mayor of London wrote to the Stephen Carr, the leader of the council saying “Having sought legal opinion I remain firm in my belief that Bromley Council is acting in a discriminatory and unlawful way by refusing civil partnership ceremonies to same-sex couples. If Bromley Council votes against the provision of civil partnership ceremonies at tonight’s executive meeting, I will do everything in my power to ensure that the rights of same-sex couples are upheld.”

Prior to the decision, the council was one of the most vocal in opposing the civil partnerships scheme that comes into effect this December.

Michael Tickner, a Conservative Councillor said during the original debate, “We hear a lot about gay rights but you should also take account of straight people’s rights – people who have normal sexual relationships.”

The Mayor said that the decision “sends a clear message to any other local authorities contemplating a similar ban that this kind of discrimination will not be tolerated in 21st century Britain.”

The first gay weddings under the Civil Partnership Act will take place in England and Wales on the 21st December 2005.