Boston chapel becomes first in town and second in Lincolnshire to be registered for same-sex marriages

A chapel in Boston has become the first place of worship in the borough to be licensed for both same-sex and opposite-sex marriages.

The Rev Patrick Timperley, of the Unitarian Meeting House.

The Unitarian Meeting House, in Spayne Road, Boston is one of only two such venues in Lincolnshire to hold the status according to the General Register Office – along with the Unitarian Chapel, in Lincoln.

Same-sex marriages became legal in England and Wales in March, 2014, following legislation passed by Parliament the previous year.

Before that, same-sex couples only had access to civil partnerships, which themselves were only about 10 years old at the time.

A key difference between the two is that marriages are solemnised by saying a prescribed form of words, that is, the vows, while civil partnerships are registered by signing a document, with no words required to be spoken.

The Rev Patrick Timperley, Unitarian Minister, described it a ‘significant’ step.

He said: “The Unitarian Meeting House has applied to be registered for same-sex marriage ceremonies because our open religious tradition recognises and reflects the range of different opinions, spiritual insights, and life experiences in our community.

“We are pleased to offer the option of a wedding ceremony in a place of worship to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples, some of whom may not be aware that this can now take place locally at the Unitarian Meeting House.”

The Unitarian Meeting House was opened in 1820, making last year its bicentennial. It re-opened on July 1.

Wedding ceremonies at the venue are tailored to meet the needs of the couple, it says, and can include both secular and religious readings and music. For more information, visit www.ukunitarians.org.uk/boston