The City of Westminster celebrated a gay milestone today as the 500th gay couple took their vows at the Old Town Hall in Marylebone.

Julien Hartley, 40, and his new civil partner, Christopher Godlove, 37, were joined by around 50 family and friends for the ceremony.

A Westminster City Council spokesman said they were delighted at reaching 500 ceremonies so quickly, but expressed disappointment that gay stronghold Brighton had beaten them to it.

The city of Brighton and Hove has held 580 civil partnership ceremonies since 21st December 2005. Both local authorities raced to be the first to hold a partnership ceremony.

Old Marylebone Town Hall, however, can claim the more illustrious matrimonial history. Paul and Linda McCartney tied the knot there on 12th March 1969, one of many glamorous 1960′s couples to take their vows in this iconic London landmark.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 6,516 partnerships were formalised between 5 December, 2005 and 31st March 2006 of which 4,311 were gay couples and 2,205 were lesbian couples.