The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force on 5 December 2005, and the first civil partnership ceremonies for same-sex couples were held on 19 December in Northern Ireland, 20 December in Scotland, and 21 December in England and Wales.  While Northern Ireland’s early start was to be explained by its shorter registration period, Scotland’s lead on England was down to a slip by the Registrar General of Scotland, Duncan Macniven, who made an error calculi and announced the 20th as the big day when it should have been the 21st if the registration period had been correctly applied.  Rather than spoil the day for the couples involved, it was decided to overlook the matter and go ahead anyway; some seven ceremonies took place altogether and another 140 or so are anticipated at the time of writing (compared, incidentally, to over 700 in England).  The first Scottish civil partners were John Maguire and Laurence Scott-Mackay, Scots-born but currently resident in Washington DC; their ceremony took place in the Edinburgh registrar’s office at India Buildings in Victoria Street and was followed by a wedding breakfast” at Edinburgh Castle. 


A jarring note was however struck in the Western Isles