August 1 2014 Latest news:
Monday, June 9, 2014
It may have been the happiest day of their lives, but the couple who wed in Havering’s first same-sex marriage still live in fear of being targeted because of their love.
Sean, 24, and Jamie, 35, of Brentwood, tied the knot on Friday in a tearful ceremony at Langtons House Register Office in Billet Lane, Hornchurch.
Sean “never dreamed” the day would come, but admitted he was reluctant to share wedding photos or disclose their surname to the world.
“I don’t want to be walking down the street and get my head bashed in,” he explained.
“Like any gay couple, we didn’t ever think we would get married. But why shouldn’t we have the same rights as ‘normal couples?’”
Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity, have spoken out about the pair’s decision.
Richard Lane, media manager, said: “Sadly we know far too many lesbian, gay and bisexual people still live in fear of harassment and prejudice. YouGov polling shows in the last three years one in six have experienced a hate crime. That’s unacceptable in modern Britain.
“Equal marriage is a small way of showing same-sex couples are just as worthy of respect and protection as any other relationship.”
The couple started dating two years ago after meeting through mutual friends, and soon got engaged for a civil partnership.
“We were planning to do it in May,” said Sean. “Then in March my dad told me they were going to legalise marriage. It was a really nice feeling.”
After visiting Brentwood Register Office, the realisation of what they were doing hit home.
“It felt like when you are a child on Christmas Day,” said Sean.
Old friends and family turned out for the wedding, which has left Sean and Jamie “in a daze.”
“It hasn’t settled in yet, it happened so quickly” he said. “Our parents have been supportive, we couldn’t have asked for a better family.”
And he had a message to young same-sex couples deciding whether or not to follow suit.
He added: “To anyone wanting to go through with it, I would say go for it. We both believe in it.”