PFLAG UK - GAY MARRIAGE & CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS
UPDATE: SAME SEX MARRIAGES HAVE NOW BEGUN IN THE UK
When will the first marriages take place?
- From 29 March 2014
same sex couples will be able to marry in England and Wales
- From June 2014 same sex couples will be able to be married in British Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions, as well as on British military bases
- By the end of 2014 couples in Civil Partnerships will be able to have them converted to marriages
WE WILL SOON BE UPDATING THIS SECTION TO REFLECT THE RECENT CHANGES TO SAME SEX MARRIAGE, PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS OF CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS.
The Civil Partnership Act became law on 18 November 2004 and came into effect on 5 December 2005.
Click here to read the full text of the civil partnership legislation.
Civil Partnership Act - the path to equality: The Government's consultation document 'Civil Partnership: A framework for the legal recognition of same-sex couples' proposed to set up a scheme under which same-sex couples would be able to register their partnership.
The consultation period ended on 30th September 2003 and in her speech on 26 November 2003 the Queen announced the Government's proposal for the introduction of the civil registration scheme for same-sex partners. 83% of responses supported the principle of a civil partnership scheme.
On 31 March 2004 the government published the Civil Partnership Bill which had its second reading in the House of Lords on 22 April 2004, the first opportunity for it to be debated.
It then passed through the committee stage in the House of Lords where each clause was discussed on the following dates:
- 10 May 2004
- 12 May 2004
- 13 May 2004
- 17 May 2004
- 25 May 2004
The Bill went through the report stage in the House of Lords on 24 June 2004 and had its third reading in the House of Lords on 1 July 2004.
The Bill passed to the House of Commons and had its second reading on 12 October 2004. The Commons removed the amendment passed during the report stage at the House of Lords which would have extended the provisions of the Bill to family members and carers. This amendment, sponsored by Conservative peer Baroness O’Cathain, would have made the Bill unworkable and undermined hundreds of years of family law. Organisations such as the Law Society and Carers UK agreed that this Bill was the wrong vehicle for such changes. Stonewall had consistently stated that protection for family members and carers should be in a separate Bill.
A further attempt to extend the Bill in this way was made at the third reading in the Commons on 9 November 2004 but a large majority of MPs voted against it.
The Bill returned to the House of Lords on Wednesday 17 November 2004 for the Lords consideration of Commons amendments where another attempt was made to amend the Bill - this was voted down by 251 votes to 136.
The Bill was passed and received Royal Assent on 18 November 2004. It took a year to implement the Civil Partnership Act. This was to allow all the necessary changes to be made and implemented, for example changes to the tax and benefits computer systems, forms that had to be amended and registrars trained in the new procedures.
Changes were made to the tax system in the 2005 Finance Bill, so civil partners would be treated as a married couple for inheritance tax purposes.
Same-sex partners were able to register from 5 December 2005 and the first registrations were in Northern Ireland on 19 December 2005, followed by Scotland on 20 December and then England and Wales on 21 December.