Three gay couples have simultaneously married in Brighton’s first gay civil partnership ceremonies.

The seaside resort is known as ‘Britain’s gay capital’ thanks to its liberal approach to sexuality and the multitude of gay men and women that have moved to the local area.

Brighton and Hove was home to Britain’s first legal gay marriage earlier this month when a terminally ill man was given special dispensation to hold a ceremony early, just a day before his death.

However, today saw the City’s first regular ceremony when three couples wed at 8 am, the moment the law came into force in England and Wales.

The first three couples included local vicar, the Rev Debbie Gaston girl friend of 16 years Elaine Gaston; Gino Meriano and Mike Ullett, who have been in a relationship of over seven years; and Roger Lewis and his partner of 14 years, Keith Willmott-Goodall who runs a gay wedding planning company.

Rev Gaston who is a vicar at the Hove Metropolitan Community Church, in Hove married Elaine Gaston who had previously changed her surname to Gaston. The pair followed their civil ceremony with a Christian blessing as Rev Gaston explained: “God is so central to our lives and our relationship that we couldn’t do the whole day without mentioning God and having him in it somewhere.”

Brighton has already received more than 500 bookings for civil ceremonies to take place in 2006.