Same-sex couple among first to wed

Nicola Pettit (left) and Tania Ward

Nicola Pettit (left) and Tania Ward

A Jewish woman from Brighton and her non-Jewish partner will be among the first same-sex couples in the country to get married when the new law comes into force on Saturday.

Nicola Pettit will marry Tania Ward on Saturday morning at a ceremony in Brighton Town Hall, followed by a traditional Jewish blessing in the evening, led by Rabbi Janet Darley of South London Liberal Synagogue.

“It was really important for me to have a rabbi and other Jewish elements present,” Ms Pettit said. “It also means a lot for my mum and the rest of my family, who all attend the Liberal Jewish Synagogue together.”

The 29-year-old childcare worker said she was grateful she was able to follow her religion and still be
recognised in a same-sex marriage.

Ms Pettit and Ms Ward, a baker, are believed to be the first same-sex couple whose marriage will contain Jewish elements. Spokespersons for the Liberal and Reform movements said this week that no other couples had yet arranged weddings under their auspices.

Rabbi Janet Darley said: "This is a wonderful and momentous occasion for me. I have had so many friends who have fought so long and so hard for this. It really is one of those shehecheyanu moments."

Chief executive of Liberal Judaism Rabbi Danny Rich added: "Liberal Judaism is delighted to be correcting an injustice.

"The issue of equal marriage on which Liberal Judaism led and gave evidence to Parliament has always been to us a matter of prophetic justice, in accordance with our founding principles that fairness trumps legal and ritual technicalities. We're delighted."

Last updated: 5:45pm, March 27 2014