Brighton and Hove celebrates its 500th civil partnership to marriage conversion

Posted On 28 Sep 2015 at 2:10 pm

More people have converted their civil partnerships to marriages in Brighton and Hove than anywhere else in the UK.

Steve Bustin and John Williams today became the 500th couple to convert their status at the Brighton register office, after first getting hitched seven years ago.

Steve and John get marriedAfter the ceremony, and a fair bit of media attention, the couple went to Sugardough in Hove to celebrate with coffee and pastry.

Steve Bustin said they had intended to have a low-key ceremony after having thrown a big party for their civil partnership, but were happy to allow open their second happy day to the media after being approached by Brighton’s registrar Trevor Love.

He said: “It’s true equality and although we have almost complete equality with civil partnerships, in terms of tax and next of kin rights and all that stuff, actually it becomes equality of language in a way.

“It was illustrated recently when I had to go to hospital for a day and I said to the staff that John was my husband, and the nurse said I have to ask, is he your husband or your civil partner? So it’s still legally having to differentiate between the two.

“It’s a very hard won right, not just for marriage equality but gay rights generally, and when those rights have been hard won, you should use them.

“Brighton’s a city which has such a high gay population, the uptake’s going to be high by default, but what’s nice about Brighton is how integrated it is.

“In some big cities, gay life is still slighly ghettoised, but here it’s become part of life in all parts of the city. For instance, we have never been to a restaurant in Brighton and been the only same sex couple in there. It’s such a great place to live.”

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