Gay Marriage in the UK

Same-sex marriage is legal in the United Kingdom, with the exception of Northern Ireland. Marriage is a devolved issue in parts of the United Kingdom, and the status of same-sex marriage is different in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Many British gay couples meet through online dating.

  • The legislation to allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom in July 2013 and came into force on 13 March 2014, and the first same-sex marriages took place on 29 March 2014.
  • Legislation to allow same-sex marriage in Scotland was passed by the Scottish Parliament in February 2014 and took effect on 16 December 2014. The first same-sex marriage ceremonies occurred on 16 December 2014 for same-sex couples previously in civil partnerships. The first same-sex marriage ceremonies for couples not in a civil partnership occurred on 31 December 2014.
  • The Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions are treated as civil partnerships. A legal challenge to Northern Ireland’s ban on same-sex marriage is currently pending in the judiciary.

Of the fourteen British Overseas Territories and the three Crown dependencies, same-sex marriage is legal only in the Pitcairn Islands. Civil partnerships are available in Jersey, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar.

Opinion polls have shown general support for same-sex marriage among Britons.

The latest poll made by BBC Radio in March 2014 found that 68% of the respondents agreed same-sex marriage should be permitted and 26% opposed it. The research also found that younger people were more likely to support same-sex marriage, with 80% of 18- to 34-year-olds backing it, compared with 44% of over-65s. Of those polled, women were more likely to support same-sex marriage than men, with 75% of women for it compared with 61% of men in favour.

The 2015 Eurobarometer found that 71% of Britons thought that same-sex marriage should be allowed throughout Europe, 24% were against.

Following the Consular Marriage and Marriages under Foreign Law Order 2014, “a consular marriage may take place in those countries or territories outside the United Kingdom which have notified the Secretary of State in writing that there is no objection to such marriages taking place in that country or territory and which have not subsequently revoked that notice”. Currently same-sex consular marriages are possible in 25 countries: Australia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, and Vietnam.

Of the fourteen overseas territories of Britain, one – the Pitcairn Islands – has legalised same-sex marriage. An ordinance to legalise such marriages was unanimously approved by theterritory’s legislature, and signed by the Governor Jonathan Sinclair on 5 May. It was published on 13 May 2015 and took effect the next day.

Another overseas territory, Gibraltar, implemented civil partnerships in early 2014. Later that year, the local rights group called on the government to legalise same-sex marriage.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Same-sex marriage in the UK, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.