In photos: Civil partnership pioneers who tied the knot ten years ago this week

10 years ago this week, the first couples tied the knot in civil partnerships across the UK.

We take a look back at some of the happy and bittersweet moments, when same-sex couples were finally able to gain recognition at long last.

Civil partnership law came just in time for Matthew Roche and Christopher Cramp, who were given special permission to tie the knot early, as Mr Roche was suffering from a terminal illness.

The pair registered at St Barnabas Hospice, Worthing on December 5 2005. Mr Roche died the following day.

The first couple to enter into a civil partnership under regular circumstances were Grainne Close and Sharon Sickles of Belfast, Northern Ireland. The pair tied the knot on December 19 2005 – and ten years later are still together and still pioneering for equality.

The pair are at the heart of a court case seeking to bring about same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, after the DUP blocked progress on the issue – leaving it isolated from the rest of the UK on the issue.

Christopher Patrick Flangan and his partner Henry Emmauel Kane also tied the knot at Belfast City Hall on December 19 2005.

Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish were the highest-profile couple to enter an early civil partnership, holding an extravagant reception after registering on December 21 2005. The pair would later convert to a marriage on the same date nine years later.

Peter Scott-Morgan and Francis Scott-Morgan had been together since 1979 – and were finally able to tie the knot on December 21, 2005. The pair were the first to get a civil partnership in Devon, and did so in the grand ballroom of Oldway Mansion.

On December 10 2014, almost nine years after their historic Civil Partnership, the pair were also the first in Devon to convert their partnership to a marriage.

Alan Bond and Derek Peacock tied the knot on the first day civil partnerships were available in England, December 21 – after 32 years together. Pictured a few days earlier collecting their marriage licenses.

Elaine Gaston and the Reverend Debbie Gaston tied the knot at Brighton and Hove register office on December 21 2005, after waiting 16 years for the chance.

The pair followed their civil ceremony with a Christian blessing as Rev Gaston explained: “God is so central to our lives and our relationship that we couldn’t do the whole day without mentioning God and having him in it somewhere.”

Roger Lewis and Keith Wilmott Goodall also signed the register in Brighton and Hove, becoming one of the first same sex couples in England and Wales to form legal civil partnerships.

(Photos by Peter Macdiarmid Daniel Berehulak/ PETER MUHLY CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)