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UK, England/Wales: Confusion Abounds Over Start Date for Marriage Equality

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Big BenSome same-sex couples will have to wait an extra nine months to get married in the UK.

Gay Star News reports:

…couples in civil partnerships are being left disappointed when they realized they were unable to get married on 29 March. It is expected they will have to wait until the end of the year to convert their civil partnerships into marriages. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has explained it will take longer for couples in civil partners to get married as computer systems have to be reformed. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has explained it will take longer for couples in civil partners to get married as computer systems have to be reformed. Paul and Michael Atwal-Brice from Barnsley were told they must dissolve their civil partnership if they wanted to get married on the historic date. ‘We’re being penalized because we’re in a civil partnership,’ Paul Atwal-Brice told Gay Star News.

The UK does seem to be having a lot of difficulty getting its act together to implement last year’s marriage equality law, don’t they?

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UK, England/Wales: Same-Sex Couples Can Marry Starting March 29th

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

LondonWe finally have a date for the first same-sex weddings in England and Wales, and it’s three months earlier than we thought.

Gay Star News reports:

The first same sex weddings in England and Wales will be able to take place from Saturday 29 March 2014, Women and Equalities Minister Maria Miller announced today (10 December). Following the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 successfully completing its journey through Parliament in July 2013, the government has been working to ensure that all the arrangements are in place to enable same sex couples to marry as soon as possible. As a result of this work, the first weddings in England and Wales will now be able to happen several months earlier than the government anticipated.

That’s great news for same-sex couples in England and Wales, who had to endure a longer waiting period than most places that have passed marriage equality. Will Scotland get its act together to let couples marry at the same time?

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UK: Bill to Send Marriage Equality to a Public Vote Withdrawn

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

UK Member of Parliament Peter BoneA Member of Parliament who disagreed with the passage of the marriage equality bill in Parliament has withdraw his bill to send it to a public vote.

Pink News reports:

The MP who described equal marriage as “completely nuts” has withdrawn his private member’s bill for a referendum on the issue. The Same Sex Marriage (Referendum) Bill 2013-2014 had been tabled by Conservative MP Peter Bone earlier this year as part of an “alternative Queen’s Speech” by backbench Tories. Mr Bone’s bill was due to receive its second reading in the Commons on Friday 29 November but it has now been withdrawn.

That should help remove any lingering doubts about the bill’s fate. Now if Scotland and Northern Ireland can just get their acts together…

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United Kingdom: More Thank 60K Civil Partnerships in 7 Years

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

titleA new report gives us an idea of how many UK citizens took advantage of the country’s civil partnerships law over the last 7 years.

Pink News reports:

More than 60,000 civil partnerships have taken place in the UK since the legislation first came into force, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show. The average age of men forming a civil partnership in 2012 was 40, while for women the average age was 37.6. The average age at which heterosexual men get married is 30.8 years, while heterosexual women are typically aged 28.9 years when they tie the knot. Over the eight-year period between civil partnership legislation coming into force in December 2005 and the end of December 2012, 60,454 civil partnerships were formed in the UK, equivalent to 120,908 civil partners.

How many of these couples will now get married when the new law comes into effect next year?

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UK, Scotland: Scottish Singer Sharleen Spiteri Says It’s Time for Marriage Equality

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Sharleen Spiteri, TexasThe lead singer for the band Texas, Sharleen Spiteri, is calling for marriage equality in Scotland.

Pink News reports:

Spiteri is best known as the lead singer of pop and rock band Texas, who have sold over 35 million records to date and recently celebrated their 25th anniversary by launching new album The Conversation. Speaking backstage at King Tut’s in Glasgow, Spiteri said: “I support equal marriage because I believe that you should be allowed to love whoever you want to love, and you should be allowed to be with that person if you want to be.”

Things have been suspiciously quiet over in Scotland since the marriage equality bill passed for England and Wales. Anyone have any news?

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UK: Gay Couple May Sue Church of England Over Wedding Ban

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

UK ChurchAfter the UK passed the marriage equality bill last month with what’s been described as a quadruple lock to keep gays and lesbians from marrying in the Church of England, a gay couple is mulling challenging that ban. The Huffington Post reports:

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, 42, and his partner, Tony, 49 — millionaires who run a surrogacy company in Britain and the U.S. — have been a high-profile couple since 1999 when they became the first gay couple to be named on the birth certificate of their child… they plan to sue the Church of England to get married there. “I want to go to my church and marry my husband,” said Drewitt-Barlow in an interview published Friday (Aug. 2). “It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognize us.”

I’m of two minds about this one. On the one hand, I’m not sure we should be forcing churches to open their doors for us. Secular businesses, yes, but churches are a different thing. But on the other hand, in this case, it’s not the church, per se, that’s banning same sex weddings – it’s the law that specifically says this one church organization can’t marry same sex couples. What happens if the church decides it wants to? What do you think?

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UK: England/Wales: Sikh Temples Consider Dropping Civil Weddings

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Big BenAfraid that they might be forced to perform same sex wedding ceremonies, UK Sikh Temples may no longer perform any civil wedding ceremonies. Pink News reports:

The Telegraph reports that advisory group Sikhs in England have written to gurdwaras urging them to halt all marriages, due to the legalisation of same-sex marriage in England and Wales. The group advises that gurdwaras should deregister as wedding venues. If they do so, they could still perform wedding ceremonies, but these would have no legal force. Couples would have to attend another ceremony in a registry office or other registered venue in order to have a legally binding marriage.

I thought the law was clear that no religious institutions in the UK would be forced to perform same sex weddings?

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UK: Everything You Need to Know About the New Marriage Equality Bill

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Parliament, LondonNow that the United Kingdom has passed the marriage equality bill for England and Wales, Pink News has put together a handy FAQ, including:

When will the first same-sex marriages take place?: No one knows the answer to this question. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the government department responsible for equalities, has said that they must take place by the Summer of 2014. We expect that they will take place earlier, more than likely in the Spring.

Why can’t couples get married straight away?: In some other countries, same-sex marriages were held almost immediately after the law being , while in England and Wales they will take longer. This was also the case with civil partnerships, where there was a year’s wait. In part it is to ensure that all of the relevant changes are made to secondary legislation that refers to a married couple. There are also other administrative changes to be made too. PinkNews published a costing of these changes earlier this year. In addition, government sources have told us that the Westminster government is hoping that Scotland could introduce same-sex marriage at the same time. This would mean that gay couples throughout the mainland of the UK will be able to marry, wherever they live.

Se these and many more at the link above.

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UK, England/Wales: Why It Will Take a Year to Implement Marriage Equality

Friday, July 19th, 2013

LondonEver since the UK passed the marriage equality bill earlier this week, we’ve been asking why same sex couples will have to wait another year to marry. Now Gay Star News has an answer:

‘Work is already underway and there is a lot to be done across government to ensure that all couples who want to get married; or convert their civil partnership to a marriage; or remain in their existing marriages when they change their legal gender, can do so,’ a spokeswoman said. The changes the DCMS will be implementing include the court rules, IT systems, the processes for civil registrations, religious buildings registration, religious consents (when a marriage of a gay couple is conducted with religious rites but does not take place in a registered building – such as in a house-band, deathbed or a prison) as well as guidance for registrars, religious organizations and the public.

The spokeswoman added: ‘Parliament will also need to scrutinize a number of statutory instruments setting out how the new arrangements will apply to other legislation; on the detail of certain processes; and to ensure that marriages of same sex couples in England and Wales are treated in Scotland and Northern Ireland as civil partnerships. ‘This all takes time.’

And yet, other countries have done it in a matter of days or weeks. Is it also partly because it was implemented as a separate law, with slightly different benefits and responsibilities from the existing marriage law that governs straight marriages?

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UK, England/Wales: Activist Peter Tatchell Points Out 6 Remaining Inequalities in Gay Marriage Bill

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

LondonAfter today’s great victory in the UK, there are still some smaller battles to fight over the marriage equality bill. Gay UK activist Peter Tatchell points out six of them. Pink News reports:

The six aspects of discrimination in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act are:

Rightly or wrongly, the existing grounds for the annulment of a marriage – non-consummation and adultery – do not apply in the case of same-sex marriages.

The Church of England and the Church in Wales are explicitly banned from performing religious same-sex marriages, even if they decide they want to.

Hit the link above for the other four. But hey, today is still a great victory!

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