A local couple have become the first to officially wed in Hawick since Scotland’s new law on same-sex marriages came into effect.
And not only can Emma McWatters and Sharon Brisbane claim to have taken part in the first gay wedding ever to have been held in the town since the law changed last month - it is the third time they have made local history together.
The couple were delighted to tie the knot in a quiet ceremony held at the town hall registry office last Thursday - although, this only converted an existing civil partnership which the couple had committed to two years ago.
Sharon, 37, told the Hawick News: “We are the first couple to get married in Hawick, but nwe were also the first to ever take part in a civil partnership back in 2012.”
Both low-key ceremonies were conducted by the local registrar - and the pair notched up another first for Hawick when they recorded the birth of their 16-month old son Kody, who was born with the help of sperm donor.
Emma, who carried Kody, said: “I can see how some people might not understand all the things we’ve done, but we see ourselves as just like everyone else, and it’s nice to have that recognised.”
The 23-year old added: “People in Hawick have been really nice though, we’ve had lots of support.”
And commenting on last week’s “official” ceremony, Sharon, now Mrs McWatters, commented: “We have classed ourselves as married since our civil partnership, but it’s great to be the same as everyone else now; it should have been allowed a long time ago though. “
She added: “The ceremonies were the same apart from in the first one it was just about partners, but this time we were declared “wife and wife”.
The pair, who have been together for four years, were also thrilled that when they registered the birth of their son, the wording on the birth certificate was altered to allow Sharon to be listed as “father/second parent”, avoiding any need for adoption.
She stated: “The registrar wasn’t sure what to do at first but was brilliant. And she seemed excited to be marrying us, and helping us with our ‘firsts’.”
Sharon, who has Rhien, 18, and Kaely, 15 from a previous relationship, also revealed: “The registrar let us have each of the three certificates for free since they were a first for the office.”
Scottish Borders Council registrar Pam Douglas told the Hawick News: “I am delighted to have been with Sharon and Emma through some of the significant stages of their journey together.”
The first gay weddings in Scotland took place on Hogmanay.