UK: Orkney Island Officials Won’t Permit “Celebrity” Homosexual Civil Union Ceremony

By Gudrun Schultz

  SANDAY, United Kingdom, January 9, 2007 ( - Officials on the remote Orkney island of Sanday have refused to permit a civil ceremony for homosexual couple Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen’s Music, and builder Colin Parkinson, causing the pair to seek legal council.

  Citing restrictions which prevent registrars on outlying islands from carrying out same-sex partnership ceremonies, officials said the pair would have to travel to Kirkwall on the Orkney mainland for the ceremony, the Times reported last week.

  One-time member of the Hell’s Angels, Charlie Ridley, who is Sanday’s resident registrar, had agreed last year to conduct the ceremony.

  The council suggested last Thursday that a compromise might be possible. A spokesman said, “In common with all the other home-based registrars in the Orkeny Island Council registration district, the Sanday registrar is not authorized to carry out civil partnership ceremonies. The council will be discussing this situation with all those concerned to find an acceptable solution within council procedure.”
  An elaborate show had been planned for the event, with Sir Peter, who is 72, and Mr. Parkinson, 52, arriving at a local tea room on a miniature train.

  Sir Peter blamed the council’s move on religious fundamentalists, whom he called “malignant,” telling The Independent, “Fundamental religious people, who delve into the Bible to justify their hatreds, still hold great sway. That kind of malignant influence is wrong.”

  Scotland’s Western Isles banned same-sex civil ceremonies in January of last year, after the United Kingdom passed legislation permitting legal homosexual unions. A church-led campaign mobilized the islands’ residents to oppose the move, with most islanders supporting the ban, according to a report by The Universe Catholic News agency at the time.

  While registry officials will not conduct ceremonies for same-sex civil unions, the region has not banned the granting of registrations to homosexual couples.

“It is a practical decision,” said Western Isles policy committee chairman Angus Campbell at the time, “our officers don’t want to do [the ceremonies.]”

  See Timesonline coverage:,,2-2533465.html

  See related LifeSiteNews coverage:

  UK Region Outlaws Homosexual ‘Weddings’

  Gay Civil Unions Bill Approved in UK

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