Marriage Equality Pioneers David Equality Watters (46) and Richard Joseph Hull (55) were finally married on Saturday 20 August 2016 at 330pm
The civil marriage ceremony, attended by close friends and family, was held at Shrewsbury House in Bushmoor Cresent, Shooters Hill, London.
As part of the Equal Love Campaign, spearheaded by veteran Human Rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, David and Richard were the second same-sex couple to file for a marriage license in Greenwich back in December 2010.
Their application, as anticipated, was refused and this prompted them, under the banner of the Equal Love Campaign, to take their case to the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights).
This they did alongside 7 other couples, both straight and gay, claiming unfair treatment in access to marriage and civil partnership within the UK.
As we now know, marriage equality, in terms of gay couples having access to civil marriage was achieved.
In a statement made prior to this historic wedding, Peter Tatchell, who coordinated the Equal Love campaign from 2010 to 2013, noted:
“I am delighted that David and Richard are getting married and offer them my congratulations. Together with three other gay couples, they played a very important role in helping secure same-sex marriage and in winning public hearts and minds. I am so proud of them. They were great ambassadors for marriage equality. I wish them every happiness.”
David: “We are both thrilled to have played a part in successfully challenging the UK marriage laws and to have helped make it possible for others to realise their romantic aspirations. Our involvement with the Equal Love Campaign was to be a voice for others and it has been hugely rewarding to see others take up the opportunity to marry or to “upgrade” their previous Civil Partnerships.
We have gone on an enriching personal journey which has meant talking to the media both nationally and internationally, in a bid to raise awareness, and this has had untold benefits to those who struggle to accept their sexuality or who live within cultures where they may face severe discrimination.
Publicly sharing our stories and taking part in challenging inequality is the only way that social progress can be made.
It was presumed that couples would immediately marry when the law changed but we have decided to wait, to do it in our own way and in our own time.”
Richard: “Like David, I agree that our involvement in the Equal Love Campaign was about securing equal access to marriage for others and that we didn’t participate for personal motives. We had previously discussed having a civil partnership but both agreed that this wasn’t right for us, so when we were invited, by Peter, to participate in this legal challenge, we knew it was what we had to do.”
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you have to do it. We weren’t against getting married and certainly have no doubts about our feelings for each other but these things, as anyone who has planned a wedding knows, take time. That is why, after 12 years together and two years since the laws permitted it, we have only now decided to marry; it was important for us to do this in our own way and in our own time.
The ceremony, with family and friends in attendance, was intimate and personal; reflecting our differences and our similarities, bringing together many aspects from our lives together.”
David: “Although my work is now in education, I was originally a singer and this means that I have been blessed with close friends who will gladly perform for a glass or two of wine and some cake. It was overwhelming to hear our talented friends perform as we entered and then throughout the ceremony. The intense emotions that we all shared really emphasised the support that we had from those who were there.
I was also inspired by examples of quirky and unexpected flashmobs I’d seen online and decided to surprise Richard with a song, towards the end of the ceremony. I had prerecorded a cover of the Garfunkel & Oates song, “As You Are”, and sent round lyrics and links of the YouTube video I’d made to all the guests.
Peter Green, Soulbird, started the piece and gradually voices were added. There was never time to rehearse, as we all live in various parts of the country, and it was nerve-wracking, not knowing how it would go on the day, but I needn’t have worried because, if you’ll pardon the pun, it hit just the right note and Richard was reminded by us all that he is loved and that he is perfect, just as he is.”
Watch the flashmob video here:
Richard: “I didn’t know what was going on. I had an inkling that something was being planned but no clue that everyone was in on it and that they’d all gradually join in, standing when it came to their part. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to run at first but I held it together and tried my best to stay composed! I still get emotional now when I think about it.”
Remember that YOU are PERFECT as you are!
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