Europe minister Chris Bryant holds first civil partnership in Houses of Parliament
The gay Europe minister Chris Bryant has held the first civil partnership ceremony to take place in the Houses of Parliament.
He entered into a civil partnership with Jared Cranney in a ceremony in the members’ dining room of the House of Commons earlier today.
Up until now, gay MPs were unable to tie the knot in the Houses of Parliament like their straight colleagues. This was because ceremonies took place within the Chapel of the Palace of Westminster, and at present, houses of worship can not conduct civil partnership ceremonies.
The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow obtained a licence from Westminster city council to hold the services in the Palace of Westminster. This means that members of the public will also be entitled to conduct civil partnerships and civil marriage ceremonies too, with slots allocated via a ballot.
Mr Bryant and Mr Cranney said: “We never thought this day would come – and never thought we’d have to worry about cakes and flowers and rings.
“It’s amazing how much things have changed in such a short time.
“Only a few years ago there was a different gay age of consent, you could sack people or refuse to serve them just because of their sexuality and gays were banned from the military, from adopting or getting married.
“Parliament is special because it has made it possible. We are delighted that everyone in the UK can now share in a privilege that used to be available just to straight MPs.”
They met in 2008 while Mr Bryant was campaigning in Soho with former London mayor Ken Livingstone.
John Bercow’s wife Sally posted a photograph of the couple on the social media platform Twitter.