Rainbow Plaque 4 - The Iconic Mill Hill Chapel
Mill Hill Chapel, situated opposite the train station at the bottom of Park Row, is the location of the fourth plaque on our Rainbow Plaque Trail. It commemorates the site at which, in 2014, Leeds’ first same-sex marriages were conducted within a religious context.
The Marriage Act of 2013 legalised the marriage ceremonies of same-sex couples in Registry Offices and at religious churches where the church had ‘opted-in’; Mill Hill Chapel was one of such churches. The Grade II listed, Unitarian establishment began conducting same-sex marriage ceremonies in 2014 and in doing so became one of the first venues in Leeds to host such events.
The plaque at Mill Hill marks the most recent event on our trail but is unquestionably one of the most significant. After decades of discrimination at the hands of Parliamentary law, the LGBT+ community were finally granted equal status under the law when it came to the right to marry. Whilst many churches remained opposed to the law change, those trailblazers like Mill Hill Chapel right here in Leeds would set the tone for further legal gains to come. In December of 2014 the Marriage Act was extended to include provisions for those individuals in a marriage or a civil partnership to change their gender without first needing to divorce or separate from their partner, a further victory for the LGBT+ community and the fight for equality.
At Mill Hill Chapel you will find not only a beautiful church at the heart of the city but also a site of cultural significance for the LGBT+ community, now fully recognised with a Rainbow Plaque as part of our walking tour of the city’s LGBT+ heritage.