Gay and Lesbian Humanist

Winter 1999-2000

Affirmations Increasingly Popular

by George Broadhead

The Pink Triangle Trust’s affirmation ceremony of love and commitment arranged for lesbian and gay couples is becoming increasingly popular. During the PTT’s last financial year, 186 enquiries were received for the ceremony which was conducted in many different parts of the country from Scotland and Tyneside in the north to Devon and Somerset in the south.

More often than not, the ceremonies are quite simple affairs held in the couple’s own home with only a few close friends and relatives present as witnesses. One such was held in Timberley, South Manchester, when Daniel and Chris, both in their early twenties, decided to fly to the UK from Portugal, where they work as a teacher and time-share consultant, to have a ceremony in Chris’s mother’s living room.

Dr Howard Hughes, one of three officiants acting for the PTT in the Greater Manchester area, conducted the ceremony and reports that it was a very informal affair with jeans and tee-shirts all round – except for himself! The only guest present apart from Chris’s mother was his sister who had flown in especially from Majorca.

Photograph of Philip and Christopher

By contrast, a more elaborate ceremony was conducted by Gordon Sinclair for Philip and Christopher (pictured) in Clayworth, near Retford, Yorkshire. The ceremony was held in a marquee in a friend’s garden, and the happy couple and their guests then repaired to a hotel for the reception.

Another elaborate ceremony was conducted by Denis Cobell for Ian and Marcel at the Grand Hotel, Brighton.

The Grand Hotel, the most prestigious hotel in Brighton, achieved notoriety in 1984 when it was bombed by the IRA while Mrs Thatcher and members of her cabinet were staying there during the Conservative Party Conference.

It turned out that the suite used for the ceremony – the Regent Lounge – is also used by the Registrar for heterosexual civil marriages. When the Registrar was informed that a gay ceremony was to be held there, he wrongly assumed it was going to be a religious ceremony and threatened to withdraw the hotel’s licence for civil marriages! However, once he was assured that it was a humanist ceremony, all was well.

The ceremony was conducted in the presence of over sixty guests and Ian and Marcel entered the room to the music of Abba’s I do, I do, I do. After signing the affirmation certificate at the end of the ceremony, they walked to their champagne reception to the music of Starship’s Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.

The 200 guests who had been invited to the party held at the hotel in the evening were entertained by a singer and band and joined (at Ian and Marcel’s invitation) by the best man and bridesmaids from an adjoining “hettie” wedding.

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Created : Sunday, 2000-04-02 / Last updated : Wednesday, 2007-12-12
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