The Guardian’s Hugh Muir writes today about his lunch with civil partnership pioneer Ian Burford and says it’s a pity the Christian registrar Lillian Ladele who refuses to conduct gay nuptials hasn’t met him.

“Ian Burford and I had not spoken since 2001. Then, it was a short but delightful conversation. He was about to tie the knot and was keen to tell me all about it. Happy days. I didn’t really think of him again until the other day when the papers were full of headlines about Lillian Ladele, the Christian registrar who went to court because she didn’t want to conduct same-sex civil partnerships. Ian is the cause of your problem Lillian, I thought.

“There were 33,000 civil partnerships across the country last year, but Ian’s was the first. The story went that Ian, a gregarious actor who is now 75, met Alex, a nursing manager. They fell in love, became an item and benefited as society tired of hounding young men for their preferences and moved to a sort of quiet acceptance…..

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