Same Sex Marriage
On the 29th March 2014 the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2014 came into force.
There is, however, some confusion as to what the law actually means. The key points are:-
1) It is legal for same sex couples to marry in England and Wales.
2) Same Sex Couples can have either a civil or a religious ceremony, but a religious ceremony can only take place if the religious group elects to opt-in.
3) The differences between civil partnership and marriage are minimal in practice. However, Civil Partnership remains an option for Same Sex Couples.
4) Same Sex Couples already in civil partnerships can convert their partnership into a marriage if it was registered in England and Wales (In Scotland, Northern Ireland or abroad the civil partnership will have to be dissolved before the couple can marry).
5) The law relating to the ending of marriages, and Civil Partnerships substantially changed on 6th April 2022, and there is now only a requirement to state that the marriage or Civil partnership has irretrievably broken down. (Divorce, Dissolution, and Separation Act 2020).
There is no harmonisation of international attitude towards same sex marriage, so it may not be recognised by countries who themselves do not allow such marriages.