Fife’s first couple to enter a mixed-sex civil partnership said they opted for he new binding to move away from “archaic” traditions of marriage.
Ross Stewart and Rebecca Wojturska were officially registered as civil partners at Dunfermline City Chambers this week, under a new law that allows couples of different sexes to enter into civil partnerships.
The new legislation came into effect on June 1 and since then three couples in the Fife have signed to become civil partners.
The legal relationship is very similar to a traditional marriage, with most of the same rights being given to both under the law.
Unlike marriage, a civil partnership is not formed by vows and often ends in dissolution, not divorce.
While civil partnerships do not come with the same traditional and religious connotations, the rights and obligations in terms of finances are almost identical to those of marriage.
‘We love weddings, but having one isn’t us’
Rebecca, who chose to apply for a civil partnership due to her bisexuality and lack of desire for a traditional wedding ceremony, said: “I’ve never been someone who has dreamed of or looked forward to a wedding for myself.
“A lot of the traditions seem archaic to me – for example, a man giving me away to another man.
“As a bisexual person in a straight-facing relationship, my life partner happens to be a man – marriage has never felt right for me.
“If I had ended up in a same-sex relationship I wouldn’t have been able to get married until relatively recently, so marriage has felt discriminatory.”
“I love going to weddings and seeing how people make it their own and create new traditions, but it just isn’t for me.
“The only tradition we engaged with was buying rings – we went back and forth on this decision for ages, but ultimately wanted matching jewellery to mark the occasion.”
Ross, who became Rebecca’s legal partner on Tuesday, added: “Because mixed-sex civil partnerships are now legal in Scotland, we had two options – civil partnership or marriage.
“Neither of us has any emotional investment in the traditions of marriage – walking down the aisle, exchanging vows, the roles assigned to family and friends.
“We love attending weddings where these things are meaningful to the people involved, and we feel exceptionally happy for them.
“But doing these things ourselves would feel like a performance – a bit of theatre for others – rather than something meaningful to us.”
Ross and Rebecca were lucky enough to have the support of their family while going through the process.
Ross said: “We’ve found some people have assumed that a civil partnership is just marriage by a different name, but chatting with them naturally moves them away from this position.
“Generally, people have been hugely positive and perceived our decision as a kind of progress, which has been good to hear.”
However, the two did receive a bit of negative attention for the decision.
Rebecca said: “After posting about the day on social media we’ve had some predictably nasty comments from online trolls, but they’re easily ignorable and often unintentionally hilarious.”
‘Choice is important’
The pair have been together since 2014 and are now looking forward to spending the rest of their lives together.
They are also hoping more couples consider civil partnership in future.
“It won’t be for everyone,” Rebecca said.
“But equality in choice is important, and there will be many couples like us, including some that include queer people, who will welcome the opportunity to have a mixed-sex civil partnership.
“I’ve already had a few friends say they are now considering this option.”