A chance to make history by saying ‘I do’ this month

Rev Phil Parkinson
Rev Phil Parkinson

Same sex couples are being given the chance to declare their love -and make a bit of history - by getting married in the first minute of the first day the Same Sex Couples Act 2013 comes in to force.

The Act means lesbian and gay couples will be able to legally marry for the first on Tuesday, March 29, and a reverend is offering to perform a service in the upper Calder Valley.

Rev Phil Parkinson, himself openly gay, will perform a service at Todmorden Unitarian Church, although a marriage has to be registered by March 7 at the Halifax Registry Office at the very latest to be performed on March 29.

Rev Parkinson said: “This (March 29) is a red letter day and a dramatic step forward towards equality in the eyes of the law that has taken much activist work in the years since Stonewall to achieve. At Todmorden Unitarian Church, a Grade I listed mini-cathedral, I am authorised to conduct fully legal marriages for lesbian, gay and straight couples, and, with the volunteers who keep the building open and local businesses, can offer a complete wedding experience in an architectural setting of great magnificence and peacefulness. That means that you only have to attend the registry office to get certificates beforehand, and are unconstrained by time slots and content restrictions on the day itself.

“Getting married is one of the most profound moments of your life in which you commit all of yourself to another person. The ceremony is a public statement about the essence of both of you declared to all your friends and family who attend.

“As your celebrant I will link your wishes for readings, music and rituals together into the form of a beautiful ceremony which allows that essence of both of you to shine through.

“Together we can build the ceremony around any particular words and themes that are dear to your hearts, and if you want, can honour any faith traditions or cultural customs that have meaning for you. It will be my duty, privilege, and pleasure to enrich such a marriage ceremony with a sense of personal meaning, profound significance, and that numinous something extra.”