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CLASSICAL  January 2007

CLASSICAL January 2007

Subject:

No "Orkney Wedding" for Peter Maxwell Davies

From:

Janos Gereben <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 7 Jan 2007 12:11:04 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (71 lines)

http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=3D26702007

   Island branded 'anti-gay' in row over ban on composer's civil
   partnership
   STEPHEN MCGINTY / The Scotsman / 1-6-07
   
   SIR Peter Maxwell Davies, the Master of the Queen's Music, is
   considering legal action after he was banned from having a "gay
   wedding" on the Orkney island of Sanday.
   
   The celebrated composer, who has lived on the island for the
   past nine years, had planned to have a civil ceremony performed
   by his neighbour, Charlie Ridley, the registrar for the island,
   but has been forbidden by Orkney Islands Council.
   
   Sir Peter, 72, and his partner of six years, Colin Parkinson,
   52, a builder, had planned to tie the knot at the Sanday Light
   Railway, a tourist attraction built by Mr Ridley, 47, over seven
   years in the garden of his croft. They hoped to arrive by train,
   driven by Mr Ridley, who would then perform the ceremony.
   
   The composer, who officially opened the railway in August, was
   even composing a piece called Sanday Railway for the ceremony,
   which was expected to draw guests across the world of classical
   and pop music.
   
   But when Mr Ridley applied for permission to perform the civil
   ceremony, he was told that only the registrar based at Kirkwall
   was authorised to carry out a civil partnership. This would force
   Sir Peter and his guests to travel 90 minutes by boat to the
   Orkney mainland.
   
   In the same letter Mr Ridley was told he now had to comply with
   public entertainment licensing regulations for his railway, which
   would cost $5,000 a year. As a result Mr Ridley, who spent $50,000
   building the railway, has started to tear it down and insisted
   he would abandon the island.

   Sir Peter, acknowledged as one of the foremost modern composers
   - and whose works, ironically, include An Orkney Wedding - said
   he and his partner still wanted to marry on Sanday with Mr Ridley
   performing the ceremony.
   
   He said: "I am taking legal advice. We are under the impression
   that a local registrar can conduct civil ceremonies. Everybody
   can get married where they live except me, it seems. It would
   not have the same meaning to get married elsewhere, but I will
   not give the council the pleasure of me marrying in Kirkwall.
   We will do it elsewhere in the UK if we cannot do it on Sanday."
   
   He continued: "Everybody on the island is in a terrible state
   over what has happened to Charlie. If he leaves we will lose our
   main tourist attraction. Why has it taken the council seven years
   to throw these bills at Charlie?"
   
   Meanwhile, Mr Ridley accused the council of anti-gay "discrimination"
   and said he was still determined to wed the pair on Sanday. "In
   the same letter they linked the need for a public entertainments
   licence even though I have never charged a penny for the railway.
   I cannot afford the $5,000 a year and all the other administration
   and regulations involved. So I have closed the railway and I am
   leaving. But not before I marry Peter and Colin here."
   
   Orkney Islands Council (OIC) said that in common with all the
   other home-based registrars in its registration district, the
   Sanday registrar is not authorised to carry out civil partnership
   ceremonies.
   
Janos Gereben/SF
www.sfcv.org
[log in to unmask]

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