'Gay Marriage' in the UK
But unlike South Africa, where the law is scheduled to change within a year, civil partnership is not completely synonymous with marriage. There, the existing Marriage Act will be amended to include the words ‘or spouse’ instead of ‘husband’ and ‘wife’.
There are a number of countries that recognise a ‘registered partnership’ for gay couples, Denmark being the first country to institute such recognition in 1989. Until the South African change in the law comes into effect, the only countries where the registered partnership for gay couples can be called marriage are: Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Canada.