CARMARTHENSHIRE’S Registration Service pulled out the stops to help a Newcastle Emlyn couple become the first to form a civil partnership as man and woman in the UK, just after the clock striked midnight on New Year’s Eve.
New legislation came in to force on December 31 which allow opposite sex couples to be recognised as civil partners for the first time in the UK.
Same sex couples have been able to form civil partnerships since 2004, but following a lengthy campaign the UK Parliament passed law last year to extend that right to couples of the opposite sex.
It means all couples can now enter a legally recognised partnership, as an alternative to marriage.
Jake Rayson and Emma Wilson had been eagerly waiting the change in legislation.
They were one of the first in the UK to give notice of opposite sex civil partnership earlier last month and chose the Carmarthenshire Register Office at The Old School, Parc Myrddin, in Carmarthen to hold their ceremony.
It is believed they were the first in Wales – possibly the UK – to form a partnership at two minutes past midnight on New Year’s Eve, at the exact time they sign the schedule to make their partnership binding in the eyes of the law.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s registration services team was keen to help make the couple’s dreams come true.
Several staff had agreeded to work overnight during the Christmas and New Year festivities to host the ceremony.
Speaking before the ceremony Cllr David Jenkins, Executive Board Member for registration services, said: “It would be an honour for Carmarthenshire Registration Services to be the first to host this landmark event, and a delight to help Jake and Emma fulfil their dreams.
“I’m grateful to the registration team, and everyone else, who is working to make this possible for the couple.
“Whilst we hope they will become the first in the UK to form an opposite sex civil partnership in the early hours of New Year’s Eve, the most important thing is that they are able to commit themselves to one another in a way that is special and important to them. I’d like, on behalf of Carmarthenshire County Council, to congratulate them and wish them well for their future together.”
Jake and Emma met in London, moving to Carmarthenshire for a change of lifestyle in 2015 with their first child Archie, shortly before welcoming their second child Madoc.
They say a civil partnership allows them the freedom to choose an alternative to marriage which they view as unequal and patriarchal.
“We don’t believe in the religious and patriarchal structures that underpin matrimony,” said Jake. “We also object to the historical practice of unequal marriage vows, but want our children to have the same legal rights as the children of a married couple.”
The couple are planning a simple ceremony at the registration office joined by their sons and two friends as witnesses.
“We want to be part of an historic moment and hopefully be the first to form an opposite sex civil partnership in the UK on New Year’s Eve,” said Emma. “It’s important to us for many reasons, and it will be a special way to commit to each other and celebrate.”
Carmarthenshire County Council is grateful for the help of the General Register Office which has supported the registration team and the couple to plan for the event.
For more information about civil partnerships, as well as marriages, birth and death registrations, venues, and more, visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales