Highgate couple Jake and Josh among the first to say ‘I do’ as gay marriage becomes law

When Jake Heaton asked boyfriend Josh Dale-Skey to marry him on stage at London Pride last month, the public proposal was probably the first of its kind since the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was introduced to Parliament at the start of this year.

The bill received Royal Assent last Wednesday and will now become law – with Jake and Josh, who live in High Point flats, North Hill, Highgate, due to be one of the first same-sex couples to marry next summer.

The theme of this year’s Pride in London Parade was Love (and Marriage), so Jake’s proposal was a fitting end to an afternoon which saw around 500,000 people celebrate the capital’s diversity.

The idea for the proposal was born after Jake offered the services of his company, London Event Medics, to festival organisers for free.

During a meeting several months ago, Pride in London chairman Michael Salter convinced Jake to propose to Josh, who works as a production co-ordinator on Big Brother, at the culmination of the parade in Trafalgar Square.

Jake pretended he was introducing an act, and then asked Josh to come up from the side of the stage to join him.

Josh said it was only at that point he realised what was going on.

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“When it happened, I actually didn’t even think about the audience, I was just concentrating on Jake,” he said. “I was so happy.”

The couple, who have been together for a year-and-a-half, had talked about marriage before.

They had agreed if the Marriage Bill had not been introduced into Parliament they would have gone abroad to tie knot rather than having a civil partnership, as they “didn’t want to do things by half measures.”

Jake described the experience of proposing in public as “petrifying” but said he would not have wanted to do it any other way.

“I like to make an impact, and I wanted this to be something we’d never forget, and neither would anyone else!” he said.

Jake and Josh, aged 23 and 24, plan to marry next July at Kensington Roof Gardens and, continuing in the same public vein, are seeking a sponsor for the celebration.

Pride chairman Mr Salter said: “Jake and Josh’s public and heartfelt marriage proposal serves as a symbol of how the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement has progressed since the first Pride march 41 years ago.

“I wish the newly engaged couple all the best and we hope to welcome them next year as husband and husband.”