South West Wales

Swansea and Caerphilly couples among first in UK to have same-sex weddings

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Media captionThe couple chose to wait to have their wedding

Two couples from Wales are among the first in the UK to have a same-sex marriage.

Darren Williams and Federico Podeschi, from Swansea, said it is important that the ceremony will give them the same rights as a heterosexual couple.

In Caerphilly, Lisa and Claire said: "A civil partnership is not as equal as it should be and that is why we have both been waiting for today."

A parade to celebrate the new marriage law has also been held.

A BBC poll found 68% of people agree with the change in the law but a fifth of British people would turn down an invitation to a same-sex wedding.

Mr Williams and Mr Podeschi have been a couple for three years but said they never wanted a civil partnership.

They have chosen to wait until they could get married in the eyes of the law.


Mr Podeschi moved to Wales from Italy as a student.

The theme for the wedding at Swansea's county hall was a fusion of Celtic and Italian traditions.

His family and friends have flown over for the big day. In Italy, same-sex marriage is neither permitted nor recognised.

The couple said they know that some people will accept their new status but many others will not.

But for them, the marriage ceremony was a public and legal recognition of their commitment to each other.

Mr Williams said: "The rights that a married couple in the UK can have at the moment are not represented fully in a civil partnership.

"So to have full equality for myself and Federico is paramount.

Image caption The couple have been preparing for their wedding ceremony at Swansea's county hall for months

"At the end of the day, we're marrying each other because we love each other, and nothing else matters.

"My father even said 'I can't believe my little boy is getting married'. And I'm 44."

Mr Podeschi said: "It's just being able to have full equality when it comes to inheritance, when it comes to the legal responsibilities and the duties, as well as the benefits of being in a relationship."

After the ceremony, he said: "It couldn't have been more perfect. It was heart-warming and emotional and we were really pleased at how it went."

Lisa and Claire, who did not want to give their surnames, were married at Caerphilly's Penallta House.

Lisa, from Ystrad Mynach, said: "It has been lovely, a very momentous day, and I'm glad that we were the first couple in the county borough to get married.

"Now we're going to be treated equally - a civil partnership is not as equal as it should be and that is why we have both been waiting for today."

Wedding-theme parade

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Media captionThe wedding-themed event included a jazz band and bridal cars

Politicians from the main parties have hailed the change in the law for England and Wales.

Scotland passed a similar law allowing gay marriage in February. Northern Ireland has no plans to allow same-sex marriage.

An hour-long wedding-themed parade took place around Bridgend town centre to mark the first day of same-sex weddings.

Samuel, who sits on the Bridgend Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Forum, said changes in the law in 2014 would allow him and his civil partner to convert their partnership into marriage without having to have it annulled.

He said: "This means so much to us because we don't want to have to get divorced. All these positive changes help us to feel more equal in society."

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