GAY couples are flocking to say "I do" after a new law allowing them to get hitched came into force this week.
From Monday homosexuals and lesbians could notify Accrington Register Office of their intention to hold a "civil partnership ceremony".
And by Wednesday afternoon, 22 people had made appointments to sign up.
If no-one formally objects within 15 days, couples get a licence for a ceremony, which must then take place within a year.
Gay couples are taking the plunge so their relationships become legally recognised and they get similar rights to straight married couples.
It means that - like heterosexual couples - "married" gay couples can inherit from each other, benefit from each other's National Insurance contributions and get fatal accident compensation.
They become legally obliged to financially support each other and any children even if the relationship ends.
And if they want to split, same-sex couples must go through a proper divorce procedure.
Lancashire County Council, which runs register offices, would not say how many gay partnership ceremonies were booked in for the Accrington office in Willow Street or other Hyndburn venues in the next year.
But a spokesman did confirm the borough's historic first ceremony would take place at the office sometime between 21 December and Christmas Eve.
Once they have a licence couples can "marry" anywhere in the country - including in churches.
But one vicar who will not be taking part is the Rev Kevin Logan, of Christ Church, Accrington, who said he would never allow a homosexual ceremony in his church.
He said: "The Anglican Church has recorded that homosexuality falls short of God's law. But men and women have gone their own way and become their own gods for so long that they have designed their own style of law.
"The longer this continues, the more prominent homosexuality will become. It is up to individuals to decide their own way of life, but it has gone too far when homosexuality begins to change the ways of the Church."
- Are YOU one of the couples taking part in a "gay marriage" ceremony. If so, we would like to hear from you and include you on our weddings page. Just ring our News Desk on 871444.