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Government to consult on legalising gay marriage

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After the announcement by the government that they will launch a consultation next spring to legalise gay marriage in England and Wales, gay rights campaigners have urged ministers to act immediately, saying that the existing laws are ‘discriminatory.’

Under English law, only men and women are allowed to get married. Civil partnerships, which became law in 2005 are limited to same sex couples. The government have said that they are committed to changing the law by 2015, ahead of the next general election. David Cameron and Nick Clegg both fully support gay marriage. In Scotland, the SNP government launched a similar consultation and a recent survey showed that 61% of people supported the proposal.

The consultation will only be for ‘civil’ marriages; religious ceremonies will not be included, and civil partnerships will not be opened up to men and women. Ministers have said that they are determined to ‘listen to all those who have an interest and to understand their views.’

New rules set to come into force early next year will allow religious premises to hold civil partnership ceremonies. This is a voluntary option and religious organisations will not be obliged to comply.

Head of our Family Team, Julie-Ann Harris says “If these proposals are passed into law, married gay couples will then have the same legal rights as a married couple with regards to inheritance and partnership issues.”

For a free initial meeting please call 01202 499255 and Julie-Ann or a member of her team will be happy to discuss any questions you may have.

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