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    First Published: Before August 2002
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.
Gay partnerships in London can now be officially registered. In a ground-breaking decision London Mayor Ken Livingstone says it's time society recognised the contribution gay and lesbian couples make to society. Gay men and women can even have an official registration ceremony in front of guests just like a straight register office wedding.
Announcing details of the London Partnerships Register Mayor Ken Livingstone says "Lesbians and gay men contribute to society in exactly the same way as the rest of the population. They work as teachers, doctors, police officers, nurses, firefighters. They run businesses. They have mortgages, pay rent and taxes. They have family lives and many raise children. Yet lesbians and gay men are still treated differently from the rest of the population. Our research in the past twelve months indicates a deeply held wish for some form of recognition of same-sex relationships, firstly as a way of publicly stating one's commitment to one's partner and secondly as a way of avoiding problems arising over intestacy, taxation, inheritance rights and family law."

The London Partnerships Register will begin in September and will be open to heterosexual, as well as same-sex couples, where one partner is a London resident. Registrations will take place in the visitor's centre at the GLA's headquarters on Wednesdays and Saturdays and there will space for up to 25 guests, with time for a ceremony for those who want it.

Couples will be charged a fee of 85 to register under the scheme, which will cover the running costs and ensure that the scheme will be totally self-financing. Couples will receive a certificate confirming that their relationship has been registered, but responding to concerns in the lesbian and gay communities about confidentiality, the Register will not be made available to the general public.

Stonewall's Angela Mason has been advising on the scheme which she welcomes: "Clearly we still have some way to go, but I believe that the London Partnership Register is a great start. London government will be the first public body in the country to formally recognise same sex relationships. Registration will not automatically confer legal rights as marriage does, but - crucially - I hope that couples who have registered with the scheme will be able to use it as additional evidence in any dispute or civil action that might arise over tenancy, pension or immigration rights. The London Partnerships Register is a step on the road to equality. I hope other cities will follow suit and that organisations will accept it as proof of a relationship. There is a long way to go but I am proud that London is playing its part."

If you're interested in registering your relationship call 020 7983 4100.

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