31 December 2019 08:39
COUPLES across Hampshire will be some of the first in the country to be able to enter into civil partnerships. From today the law has changed meaning opposite sex couples can legally enter into civil partnerships. New Milton couple, Martin Joyce and Debbie Meggs have been together for ten years. They are set to be one of the first Hampshire couples to have their civil partnership ceremony, in Ringwood today. In 2014, legislation was passed allowing same sex marriage.
Now, for the first time, both same sex and opposite sex couples have more choice about how they wish to officially mark their lifelong commitment to one another. Debbie said: "We like the fact that a civil partnership will provide us both with the same legal rights as a married couple, and also it will be a wonderful way for us to celebrate our love and commitment to each other. "We are grateful to the Equal Civil Partnership Campaign team for their hard work, and five years of fighting for this right. We would also like to thank the liaison team at Hampshire County Council Ceremonies for all their patience and guidance while this momentous change in the law was taking place." Lynda Kershaw and Karl Walker, who are originally from Hampshire, are also due to enter a civil partnership on New Year's Eve is They have been together for 22 years and live in Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire. Lynda said: "A civil partnership is the ideal solution for us. "It gives us legal recognition for the relationship we already have, rather than forcing us into a different one. "One good thing about civil partnerships being new is that there are no social conventions, so we are free to do it however we want. "We are planning to have a lovely day, though, and December 31 seems a fitting day to celebrate. "Hampshire County Council ceremonies have been very helpful and supportive and we are really looking forward to entering into our civil partnership in Winchester. "It's a beautiful city and the registry office is in a stunning location so we feel very lucky." Welcoming the upcoming change in law, Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Keith Mans, said: "This new legislation is an historic development because since 2004, civil partnerships have been exclusive to same sex partners. Our dedicated team of Registrars are delighted to be on hand to help."