Thursday, April 3, 2014
History was made in Exmouth on Saturday as mayor John Humphreys and teacher David Marston said ‘I do’ on Saturday.
When Cllr Humphreys and former Journal reporter David tied the knot in front of family and friends it marked the first-ever same-sex marriage, both in Exmouth and East Devon.
They exchanged vows just 12 hours after the new marriage law came into effect; and to mark the occasion the ‘rainbow flag’ was flown aloft the town hall.
Cllr Humphreys said: “It was a wonderful day and we were delighted to be able to do something that was not only of personal importance but something we believe is of national importance in our home town.”
The council chamber was packed for the ceremony, and the reception saw 110 friends and family mark the occasion at the nearby Masonic Hall.
And one of the guests was Foreign Office Minister and East Devon MP Hugo Swire, who is not only part of the Government who passed the law but became the first British government minister to attend a same sex wedding.
He told the Journal: “It was a pleasant, happy occasion.
“I do hope that the people who are against same-sex marriage will think again.”
He added: “It seems to me to be profoundly conservative if two people want to care for each other, stick with one another, and share their lives together.
“I don’t think that’s undermining society; I think that’s helping to make society richer.”
The couple first met 22 years ago when David was working on the Journal covering an aid convoy to Romania, and John was one of the volunteers.
Cllr Humphreys added: “We have been very encouraged by people’s reactions, everybody has been really very supportive.
“Only this morning a lady approached me in The Strand and congratulated me.
“We have never lived a lie and always been open and up front about our relationship and David’s students have been very supportive.”
David added: “It seemed worthwhile marking the change in the law on the day it actually changed.
“This is a significant change in our country. I think there are some 20 counties now where people can get married if they are same-sex couples.
“It’s a growing thing, and I’m glad to see that.”