History Made With First Gay Wedding in Antarctica

Gay Wedding Antarctica

Eric Bourne and Stephen Carpenter make up the lucky couple who tied the knot overlooking the beautiful Antarctic Peninsula, a first for same-sex couples in that territory.

Gay wedding in Antarctica? check! Stephen Carpenter, from Caerphilly, and Eric Bourne, from Rochford, Essex, have been together for 20 years. They now serve together on board RSS Sir David Attenborough (a research vessel owned by the Natural Environment Research Council, operated by the British Antarctic Survey for the purposes of both research and logistic support) and by now have been seafaring together across the globe.

“We’ve both been to Antarctica together, it felt like the perfect place for us to finally tie the knot,” Stephen told the BBC, “We’ve even had the coordinates of the wedding location engraved into our rings.”

“We feel very lucky to be able to live and work in such an incredible community and place together,” Eric added.

It was beautiful to see the support the gay couple received from their crew:  30 fellow crew members from the Polar research ship attended, with the ceremony taking place at British Antarctic Survey’s (BAS) Rothera Research Station, officiated by Captain Will Whatley.

Captain Whatley said: “It was such an honor to be officiating Eric and Steve’s wedding. The RRS Sir David Attenborough is not only our place of work but also our home, and it is a privilege to help two integral members of our crew celebrate their special day.”

The gay couple’s wedding in Antarctica follows the 2016 reform of British Antarctic Territory marriage law which updated paperwork to allow for same-sex marriages, as well as making it easier to arrange marriages in the Territory. Their marriage will be registered with the BAT government based in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.