Marriage of same-sex couples
Marriage of same-sex couples

The following Family practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Marriage of same-sex couples
  • Implementation dates
  • Main provisions in relation to marriage
  • Conversion of civil partnerships to marriage
  • Other provisions

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (M(SSC)A 2013) received royal assent on 17 July 2013. Its main purpose is to enable same-sex couples to marry, either in a civil ceremony (ie a civil ceremony in a register office or approved premises such as a hotel) or, provided that the religious organisation concerned is in agreement, on religious premises, with the marriage being solemnised through a religious ceremony. M(SSC)A 2013 does not remove the availability of civil partnerships for same-sex couples but provides for those in a same-sex civil partnership to convert that relationship to a marriage if they choose to do so (see: Conversion of civil partnerships to marriage). See also Practice Note: The definition of civil partnership.

Implementation dates

The provisions of M(SSC)A 2013 came into force on varying dates, the most significant being:

  1. 13 March 2014—in relation to the majority of the provisions save where detailed below; note that the first marriages of same-sex couples may not take place before 29 March 2014 (save where the Registrar General has waived the notice period because one member of the couple is seriously ill and not expected to recover)

  2. 3 June 2014—to allow same-sex couples to marry in certain British consulates in armed forces bases overseas and to allow for same-sex marriages in military chapels but only in countries and churches that have given written

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