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This Couple Just Became Britain's First Heterosexual Civil Partners

Illustration by Mary Galloway.
A man and a woman have become the first heterosexual couple to have a civil partnership ceremony in the British Isles.

Adeline Cosson, 24, and Kieran Hodgson, 22, cemented their union in Douglas, the capital of the Isle of Man, which isn't part of the UK and made civil partnerships available to all couples this summer, reported The Guardian.

Although civil partnerships were introduced for same-sex couples in the UK in 2004, they are still not available for opposite sex couples. This is despite many years of lobbying by heterosexual couples who believe that being denied access to civil partnerships breaches their human rights.

Cosson and Hodgson's ceremony took place on Friday morning at the Douglas registry office in front of two witnesses, The Guardian reported. They will celebrate with a party for friends and family on Friday evening.

The couple, both clad in velvet, wanted to "keep it simple" and opted for a civil partnership because it gives them legal rights without having to get married. However, they plan to get married and have a traditional wedding eventually.

“It helps couples more forward without having to get married right now," Cosson, who is from France, told The Guardian.

“In France, everybody can get a civil partnership," she added. "A lot of people don’t want to get married. ‘Marriage’ is a big word."

There was no nerve-wracking surprise proposal either. Rather, the couple had a "short discussion" about the idea and decided to take the plunge together.

The ceremony was conducted by registrar Jane Salter, who said the couple "were very happy and relaxed".

She added: “It’s the same sort of ceremony as a wedding but we use different wording. We don’t refer to the ‘bride’ and ‘groom’. They can exchange rings, but this couple didn’t. They are now civil partners for life,” reported The Guardian.

Salter has been booked to hold another ceremony next week for a London couple travelling to the Isle of Man specifically for a civil partnership. Could this be a burgeoning trend among heterosexual couples in the UK?

Campaigners lobbying for civil partnerships to be extended in the UK sent the couple their congratulations. “I’m delighted to send congratulations to Adeline and Kieran," said Matt Hawkins, of the Equal Civil Partnerships Campaign.

"I hope that the joy they share in their civil partnership is one that many different-sex couples across the British Isles will soon be able to experience."

He added that it was "remarkable" that heterosexual couples in Britain "are now just a stone’s throw away from getting a civil partnership".

"Extending civil partnerships extends choice and gives couples who do not feel a marriage is right for them the chance to gain legal and financial protection for their relationship and, if they have any, their children," Hawkins said, adding that he was confident the opportunity will soon be extended.