British Antarctic Territory to host first same-sex wedding

Two crew members of the RRS Sir David Attenborough will become the first same-sex couple to marry in the British Antarctic Territory.

Stewards Eric Bourne and Stephen Carpenter, who have been together for 20 years, will be married by Will Whatley, the ship’s captain, at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Rothera Research Station.

The exact date will depend on the weather but the ceremony should take place on Monday.

Mr Carpenter said: “Antarctica is such an amazing place.

“We’ve been together for 20 years, but now that we’ve both been to Antarctica together, it was the perfect place to finally get married.”

Both are experienced sailors and have traveled the world together on a variety of ships.

Mr Bourne has spent the last three years working for BAS and the couple decided Antarctica would be the perfect location for their nuptials after Mr Carpenter joined the ship’s crew.

The couple are stewards on the RRS Sir David Attenborough (BAS / PA)

“We even had the coordinates of the wedding venue engraved into our rings,” Mr. Carpenter said.

The ceremony will be attended by the 30 crew members of the RRS Sir David Attenborough, followed by a reception with around 100 research station staff.

Food will be prepared by the resort chef and the resort’s resident band will provide the music.

Mr Bourne said: ‘We are both very proud to be the first same-sex marriage to occur in the British Antarctic Territory.

“BAS is such a welcoming and hospitable employer, and we feel very fortunate to be able to live and work together in such an amazing community and place.”

The marriage will be registered with the British Antarctic Territory Government, which is based at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and will be valid in the UK.

The couple will hold a second celebration for family and friends later in the year, in the warmer climes of Spain.

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