November 27, 2013

Same-sex marriage given the go-ahead

Same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in England and Wales after Government proposals became law.

The Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill has received Royal Assent from the Queen, who is also Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and survived last-ditch attempts by backbench MPs and peers to derail its progress.

The first ceremonies are expected to take place next summer, as civil servants need to ensure that procedures are compatible with the new rules.

The news comes just 45 years after the Queen signed the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which decriminalised homosexual acts between men over the age of 21.

The new law will enable same-sex couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies and will also allow couples who had previously entered into a civil partnership to convert their relationship to a marriage.

However, religious organisations will have to ‘opt in’ to offering weddings, with the Church of England and Church in Wales being banned by law from doing so.

There will also be a review of whether groups such as the humanists will be allowed to carry out marriages, while ministers said they were prepared to look at eliminating any difference in the treatment of gay couples when it came to pension schemes.

At Royds, we will be keeping a close eye on developments. In the meantime, our family solicitors are able to advise on all aspects of civil partnerships, including pre and post-partnership agreements, and dissolutions. For more information, please contact Patrick Hart.


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