Monday, December 05, 2005

'Gay Marriage' in the UK

‘Gay weddings’ come into law in the UK today with the first ceremonies under the Civil Partnerships Act taking place in Northern Ireland on 19 December, followed by Scotland the next day and England and Wales on 21 December. The new law accords people in same-sex relationships the same sort of rights and responsibilities that are available to married couples with a few minor differences.

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.


Blogger andrea said...

As you can probably imagine, the Americans were ready to lock down the border so their gay residents couldn't sneak up to Canada to marry after it was legalised here. (And I hear Elton John has waited until it's legal in Britain to marry his *Canadian* partner. Tsk tsk.)

PS Though it's admittedly a smaller pool, my husband has had the same experience after working in IT here for 15 years.

2:37 pm  
Blogger jjd said...

we'll see what happens in south africa, considering it's been a constitutional right for years now. Just goes to show the usefulness of Courts, which in the US, are about to be screwed by another conservative appointment for the next 20 years or so.

Anyway, congrats UK! Slowly the dominos are falling.

ps: It wasn't a a book, a film, a nightmare, or a drug-fuelled hallucination.. :-)

8:18 pm  
Blogger rhino75 said...

In France, you can have a "civil partnership" called the Pacs, but frankly, the legal rights that this confers on the "spouse" are pretty limited. To be honest, the only couples I know who've done it have been those where one of the partners isn't French and needs points to get residency. But we SHALL overcome!!

7:01 am  
Blogger Dr O2 said...

we just get to live once so people should get to live the way they want. As we have the right to be with the girl we want others should also get to be with their beloved no matter the sex. hey sexual life is ones private aspect & shouldn be violated.

10:14 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

andrea: what is the legal situation now if US gay couples marry in Canada and they return to the US? Is their marriage recognised there?

jjd: I'm trying to remember why I said that on your blog. In the office now and had a look but a few 'semi-nakeds' popped up - oops, not good for office-viewing! :-) Will have to check when I get home.

rhino: are you a Frog in France or a Pom in France? Or, to be a bit more French about it, a rosbife (sp?) in France?

dr O2: my sentiments exactly

8:44 am  

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