London couple go to Isle of Man for UK's first civil partnership

image captionClaire Beale and Martin Loat said they wanted a civil partnership because they "do not feel comfortable with the historical, patriarchal baggage associated with marriage"

A heterosexual couple have flown to the Isle of Man to become the first in the UK to enter a civil partnership.

Claire Beale, 49, and Martin Loat, 55, took advantage of new legislation in the British Crown Dependency to take their vows at Douglas Registry Office.

The pair, from Ealing in west London, have been together since 1992 and said they wanted to become civil partners "because marriage is not right for us".

Only same-sex civil partnerships are currently allowed in the UK.

In July, the Isle of Man became the only part of the British Isles where both gay and straight couples can enter civil partnerships.

The couple, who have two children, added: "We want a less encumbered, light-touch civil union that recognises our relationship on our terms, free from the trappings and social pre-conditions of marriage, while protecting our family financially and in law.

"We regard ourselves as one of the millions of 'happily unmarried' couples in the UK."

image copyrightClaire Beale and Martin Loat
image captionMartin and Claire are campaigning for a change in UK law to allow heterosexual couples to enter into a civil partnership

They said they were campaigning "for the UK government to follow the Isle of Man's lead and end discrimination against heterosexuals seeking civil partnerships".

Couples who register a civil partnership on the Isle of Man acquire the legal status of civil partners and gain similar rights and responsibilities to those of married couples.

The Isle of Man General Registry said Claire and Martin's ceremony was only the second civil partnership since the new legislation came into force.

The first was between local couple Adeline Cosson and Kieran Hodgson on 15 October.

A spokesman for the Registry Office confirmed there have been several enquiries from other UK couples.

The next booking is for February.

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