Friday, 25 May 2012

Civil partnership

This article appeared in "The Tablet," 19th may edition and can be wiewed here.
Photo credit www.simplyperfection.co.uk

Rings by wings

HISTORY WAS made in Liverpool on Sunday when the first civil partnership on religious premises in the United Kingdom took place.  The Ullet Road Unitarian Church played  host to the civil partnership ceremony  between Kieran Bohan, a Catholic, and Warren Hartley, an Anglican. Both men are  involved with LGBT – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender – groups for people of  faith in Liverpool.

The law allowing religious buildings to  conduct civil partnerships came into effect  in December 2011 and the church received  confirmation from the city council that it  could register civil partnerships days before  the ceremony was scheduled to take place. 

The event included an interesting “liturgical  innovation”, with a trained owl flying the length of the Grade-I listed building to  deliver the rings to the best man. The Gospel was read by a religious sister of the Bethlehem Community in Liverpool, which is part of the breakaway “Ecumenical Catholic Church”.

Information can also be found on Ruth Gledhills blog here
Warren Hartley and Kieran Bohan sign the Schedule of Civil Partnership at Ullet Road Unitarian Church, Liverpool, in the first service of its kind on religious premises. They are accompanied by witnesses Camryn Hicks, Anne-Marie Martindale,... Liverpool City Council registrar Janet Taubman and Untitarian lay minister Angela Howard. Photo credit: Simply Perfection www.simplyperfection.co.uk

The first civil partnership in the UK has been hosted at a church in Liverpool.

Ullet Road Unitarian Church received final confirmation from Liverpool City Council last week that it could register civil partnerships in its Grade 1 listed building.  Kieran Bohan, 41, and Warren Hartley, 36, had already booked a blessing for the bank holiday weekend.  So when the registrars gave the go-ahead, they were able to sign the legal documents recognising their partnership after the service.
The couple have been together for four and a half years.  They have been involved in groups for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of faith in Liverpool for several years.  Kieran is a member of Quest, the group for LGBT Catholics.  Warren co-ordinates a monthly Anglican eucharist service for LGBT Christians.  Together they coordinated Spectrum of Spirituality, the interfaith service for Liverpool Pride for the last two years.

Kieran is originally from London but has lived in Liverpool for nine years. Warren’s father was from Liverpool and emigrated to Australia in the 1960s. Warren, born in Sydney, has lived in Liverpool for five and a half years.

Kieran, who runs an LGBT youth group, said: “When we booked our blessing over a year ago we had no idea that this would be possible. 
"We are delighted to have achieved this milestone on the road to equality.”

Read it all The Times and The Sunday Times blog Articles of Faith by Ruth Gledhill
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/articlesoffaith
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