FAQ: Same Sex Marriage
Publish Date: 23/07/2013
The Answers to all those Burning Questions on Same Sex Marriage
Last week the Bill allowing same-sex couples to marry in England and Wales passed its final hurdle in Parliamentand also achieved Royal Assent – becoming law.
This was historic day for all lesbian, gay and bisexual people across the country. It’s fantastic that same sex couples will now soon be able to equally celebrate their love for one another alongside heterosexual couples – this is a huge step forward for equality.
Many of our supported have emailed, written, facebooked and tweeted some of their burning questions around thte issues of Same Sex Marriage. Here we answer the top ones...
Q: Why did the process take so long?
A: The process to pass a law is quite long and complex and the Bill has to go trhough many stages in order to become law. You can find out about all the stages in the Parliamentary process here - http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2012-13/marriagesamesexcouplesbill.html
Q: Why can’t the first marriages take place straight away?
A: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the government department responsible for equalities, has said that they must take place by the summer of 2014, its possible it may be as early as Spring 2014.
Q:Why will gay couples be able to choose between a marriage and a civil partnership but straight couples can only marry?
A: There were many debates about opposite sex civil partnerships in parliament while same sex marriage was being discussed.
A review will be conducted by the DCMS into opposite sex civil partnerships and many expect that they will be allowed or the government will be forced to abolish same-sex civil partnerships and convert all couples to a marriage. There is currently a legal case pending in the European Court of Human Rights about the ban on opposite sex civil partnerships.
Q: What was The Queen’s role?
A: The UK is a constitutional monarchy. This means that bills are only passed into law when The Queen grants her Royal Assent. This is purely ceremonial and constitutional as she has no role to play in the political process.
As Queen, she has passed every single reform into law for both Gay and Trans people in the UK beginning with the decriminalisation of male homosexuality in 1967.
Find out more here - http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/laws/passage-bill/lords/lrds-royal-assent/
Q: How will the passing of same sex marriage affect Trans people within England and Wales?
A: Under present UK legislation, Trans people who were already married prior to their transition (and the implementation of the Gender Recognition Act 2004), and wish to remain so, are not allowed to obtain a full Gender Recognition Certificate, nor can they be issued with a new/amended birth certificate.
Find out morehere at- http://changingattitude.org.uk/campaigns/equal-marriage-trans-perspectives
Q: We are in a civil partnership already, what does the law mean for us?
A: Once same-sex marriages are being held, you will be able to fill in a form to convert your civil partnership to a marriage. You do not have to hold another ceremony if you do so, but you can if you wish. The length of your marriage will begin at the date you held your civil partnership ceremony, not the date you converted to a marriage.