As you may have already seen, last Monday Civil Partnerships became available in the UK. For those who haven’t been following this piece of legislation, it’s basically gay marriage — the rights and responsibilities are the same, just the name is a little different. It’s a massive step forward for the UK and I was proud to be part of the campaign that helped bring it about.

For those of you wondering, Elly and I are indeed one of the 80 couples already signed up with Newcastle City Council. We’re getting married in October next year and going to sign the papers and things this Wednesday. Amazingly, last week the Registry Office was TOO BUSY for any more appointments, because there was so much interest!

I must admit, I was a little worried about the public reaction. Civil Partnerships haven’t got an awful lot of press since the legislation was passed last year and I was worried there might be some backlash. When we were looking for wedding venues I was expecting people not to understand what I was talking about, or to get huffy when I explained. I was pleasantly surprised that the opposite was true — most of the wedding coordinators were both informed and enthusiastic. I suppose they might be having a bit of a wintertime boom thanks to all the pink pounds being spent, so perhaps that accounts for a lot of it.

Equally, though, when I called the Registry Office to get an appointment, the lady on the other end of the phone was virtually SELLING Civil Partnerships to me. She was asking me to make sure all my friends knew about it and that there were really valuable rights that they would get by entering into a partnership. It was really quite sweet.

The reaction that surprised me most, however, was actually on Monday itself. I needed to travel down to London and on the way to the airport in the taxi, the news headlines were on. The first headline was something along the lines of “Gay couples allowed to marry from today”. I immediately cringed, imagining that the taxi driver (who had just been telling me about the goldmine of a council house he was sitting on) might object. I was pleasantly surprised when his reaction instead was “About bloody time! Ridiculous that they haven’t been able to before now…”

Seems that somewhere along the way, a lot of the UK just grew up and got used to people being gay. I suppose that an island with the history of invasions and assimilations that this one has, is rather used to this kind of thing by now. I shouldn’t really have been surprised 😉