Scottish island to hold first same-sex ceremony today

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The Isle of Lewis is set to have its first gay civil partnership ceremony today when BBC children’s presenter Andrew Robertson will tie the knot with his partner Craig Atkins.

This will be the first one of its kind to happen on the island since same-sex civil partnerships were introduced in 2005.

Mr Robertson, who presents children’s shows on Gaelic channel Alba, has said that so far, “Everything has gone smoothly. No hitches at all.”

The strongly religious Outer Hebrides islands of northern Scotland have never had a civil partnership ceremony, and were embroiled in a controversy after councillors agreed to support any registrars who refused to perform the ceremonies on moral grounds.

The registrar who is said to be performing the ceremony, Euphemia “Effie” MacDonald, claimed she had no knowledge of the impending nuptials, and when asked, said: “I’ve been told not to comment.”

There is already anger on the island about the start of a new ferry service on Sundays.

A spokesman for the church on the island of Lewis said: “On the very weekend the ferry was supposed to sail on the Sabbath, this is disappointing. The council should not be forcing staff to conduct ceremonies like these. It is immoral and a sin.”

The council on the western isle has stressed, however, that it will carry out its legal obligation to register same-sex partnerships but uphold its right of discretion to ban ceremonies for same sex-couples.