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18 July 2013

Same-sex marriage becomes law in England and Wales

Same-sex couples will be able to get married in England and Wales after new measures became law on 17 July 2013 when the government's legislation on the issue received Royal Assent.

It is expected that the first same-sex wedding ceremonies will take place by summer 2014.

The Act, which applies to England and Wales, will:

  • Allow same sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies;
  • Allow same sex couples to marry in religious ceremonies, where the religious organisation has “opted in” to conduct such ceremonies and the minister of religion agrees;
  • Protect those religious organisations and their representatives who don’t wish to conduct marriages of same sex couples from successful legal challenge;
  • Enable civil partners to convert their partnership to a marriage, if they wish; and
  • Enable married individuals to change their legal gender without having to end their marriage.

The arrangements for allowing the conversion of civil partnerships to marriages, and allowing people who change their legal gender to remain in their marriages, will follow later, as these will take longer to implement.

Further updates will follow.

Please contact our family team for advice on any related issue.

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