Celebrating the borough's first civil partnership for a mixed sex couple

Rachel and Jonny

Jonny Richards and Rachel Barrett celebrated a major personal milestone and a first for the borough when they signed their civil partnership at the council’s Tower Hamlets Register Office, Bromley Public Hall on 31 December 2019. 

Rachel, a barrister and Johnny, a civil servant at the Department for International Development have been together for 16 years and live in Bow.

They are the first mixed sex couple in Tower Hamlets to register their relationship in this way. This follows the recent change in the law allowing mixed sex couples to register civil partnerships. Same sex couples have been able to do this for a number of years.

Jonny Richards said: “We’re delighted equality in the law has been established with a new institution which allows people to re-define the social norms around marriage and be able to enter into truly equal partnerships.

“While many couples can have marriages in their own way and on their terms, we did not want to get a basic civil marriage as we felt we would still be tied to the language of the institution and the state would still recognise us as ‘married’, and as ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ rather than partners. We always want to be an equal partnership.”

John Biggs Mayor of Tower Hamlets said:“I extend my congratulations to Jonny and Rachel. We have so many great venues for people to celebrate special moments and I’m delighted that their historic day was so special.”

Kathy Constantinou, Head of Registrars, Citizenship and Immigration Services said: “We are delighted to have hosted this significant event for Rachel and Jonny and look forward to hosting many more couples wishing to mark their partnership in this way.”


To find out more about civil partnerships and marriages in council premises visit www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/RegisterOffice

Posted on Monday 6th January 2020