‘Man and wife? No, we’re equal’ say Tower Hamlets’ first mixed sex civil partnership couple

Rachel and Jonny are the first mixed sex couple recognised as a civil partnership by Tower Hamlets C

Rachel and Jonny are the first mixed sex couple recognised as a civil partnership by Tower Hamlets Council. Picture: LBTH - Credit: LBTH

Barrister Rachel Barrett and civil servant Jonny Richards are the first mixed sex couple to sign a civil partnership at Tower Hamlets Register Office.

Barrister Rachel Barrett and civil servant Jonny Richards are the first mixed sex couple to sign a civil partnership at Tower Hamlets Register Office.

The couple have been together for 16 years living in Bow, but never got married.

Instead, they are the first mixed sex couple to register their relationship with Tower Hamlets Council in a brief ceremony at Bromley Public Hall on New Year's Eve.

This follows a change in the law allowing such civil partnerships. Gay couples have had that legal right for several years.


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"Equality in the law has been established," Jonny said. "This allows people to redefine the social norms and be able to enter into truly equal partnerships."

"We didn't want a basic civil marriage," Jonny added. "This would still tie us to the language of the state recognising us as 'husband' and 'wife' rather than equal partners."

The couple have congratulations from the Mayor of Tower Hamlets who now wants more couples to step up to the plate for civil partnerships.

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