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Landmark move towards same-sex marriage

A consultation on how to lift the ban on same-sex couples marrying in a civil ceremony has been launched by the government.


Current legislation allows same-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership, but not civil marriage. This consultation will look at how to remove this barrier and bring about equal civil marriage.

The consultation will seek views on how to change civil marriage only, not religious marriage.

The key proposals are as follows:

  • to open civil marriage ceremonies to same-sex couples;
  • to make no changes to religious marriages – these will continue to remain only legally recognised if between a man and a woman;
  • to retain civil partnerships for same-sex couples and allow couples already in a civil partnership to convert it into a marriage; and
  • to allow people to stay married and legally change their gender.

Following the conclusion of the consultation, the government plans to introduce any required legal changes by the end of this Parliament.

The UK is not alone in considering marriage for same-sex couples. A number of other countries have introduced marriage provision for same-sex couples including Spain, Canada, Argentina, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden and Belgium, among others.


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