First same-sex marriage held in British Antarctic Territory as research ship's crew tie the knot

·2-min read

The first same-sex marriage has taken place in the British Antarctic Territory (BAT).

Eric Bourne and Stephen Carpenter, stewards on RRS Sir David Attenborough, tied the knot on Sunday against a backdrop of mountain peaks and icebergs.

The ceremony took place on the ship's helideck, officiated by the captain, and the marriage will be valid in the UK.

There were speeches by the couple's best men - their fellow crew members, followed by live music and songs by the ship's doctor.

Stephen and Eric have spent the last two decades travelling the world together on various ships.

Eric has worked for British Antarctic Survey (BAS) for three years and they decided to get married in Antarctica after Stephen joined the crew last year.

"Antarctica is such an incredible place," said Stephen.

"We have been together for 20 years but now we've both been to Antarctica together, it felt like the perfect place for us to finally tie the knot! We've even had the coordinates of the wedding location engraved into our rings."

"We're both very proud to be the first same-sex marriage to happen in British Antarctic Territory," added Eric.

"BAS is such a welcoming and accepting employer, and we feel very lucky to be able to live and work in such an incredible community and place together."

A wedding reception with all the staff from the Rothera Research Station will take place on 8 May and the couple are planning a celebration for family and friends in Spain later this year.

It is the second wedding between BAS staff since a law change in 2016 made it easier to hold marriages in the territory.

BAS operates three scientific stations in Antarctica.

The UK is one of seven countries to have made territorial claims on the continent but people from all over the world conduct research there.

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