LONDON – Gay couples began registering for civil partnerships at town halls across Britain on Monday as a law took effect giving them many of the same legal rights as married heterosexuals.
Although the law stops short of allowing same-sex couples to marry, many said they were still eager to claim the benefits and official recognition of their relationships — for which some have waited decades. The Times of London marked the day by publishing notices of “gay marriages” for the first time.
“We’re absolutely delighted,” said 80-year-old John Walton, registering in London with his partner of 40 years, Roger Raglan. “It’s enormously important to us that we should be able to state to everyone that we are partners.”