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Same sex marriage becomes law

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has now received Royal Assent and has officially become law.

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
  • enable married individuals to change their legal gender without having to end their marriage

“Marriage is the bedrock of our society and now irrespective of sexuality everyone in British society can make that commitment,” said Women and Equalities Minister Maria Miller.

Work is now underway across Government to ensure that all the necessary arrangements are in place to allow marriages of same sex couples to take place a quickly as possible. Once the necessary processes are in place, it is anticipated that the first wedding could happen by summer 2014.

According to the Government, 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 details are to follow in due course.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.

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