The first same-sex wedding in British Antarctic Territory is due to take place this weekend

Eric Bourne and Stephen Carpenter on board the RRS Sir David Attenborough. Photo: BAS, Rich Turner

We love to see it! Gay couple who have been an item for 20 years set to make history with their wedding. 


The first ever same-sex wedding in British Antarctic Territory is set to take place this weekend at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Rothera Research Station.


Eric Bourne and Stephen Carpenter are both polar research ship crew members who have been a couple for two decades, having first met aboard the RFA Sir Percivale before being deployed in the Gulf war.


The happy couple are set to declare their vows to each other on Sunday 24 April – with a backup date of Monday 25 April, pending weather conditions as temperatures are predicted between -3 and 0 degrees Celsius – and the service will be performed by ship captain Will Whatley.


The newlyweds are then set to celebrate with family and friends in (hopefully warmer) Spain when they return from their voyage.

Rothera Research Station

“We’re both very proud to be the first same-sex marriage to happen in British Antarctic Territory,” Eric said of the pending nuptials. “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.”

While fiancée Stephen added, “Antarctica is such an incredible place. 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.”


Whatley, the ship’s captain who will also be officiating the service, said: “It is such honour”

“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”, he added.

“I’m very proud of the inclusive culture within the British Antarctic Survey and across the Polar Regions. I am thrilled for them both and wish them all the very best.”


Around 30 of the ship’s crew members will join them to witness the happy union during what will be a landmark event for the international polar research community. 


Congrats to the happy couple!