The Civil Partnership Act 2004 enabled same-sex couples to formally register their partnership, but when the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 is implemented it will allow same-sex couples in England and Wales the same right to marry as opposite-sex couples.  (Implementation is expected to be in the summer of 2014.)

Equality Act 2010 for lesbian, gay and bisexual people

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 came into force on 17 July 2013 and allows same-sex couples the same right to marry as opposite-sex couples.  Although the Act has received Royal Assent and is now law, it has not yet been implemented and the first same-sex marriages are not expected to take place until the summer of 2014.

Ceremonies will be able to take place in any civil venue and religious organisations will have the opportunity to “opt in” to performing religious same-sex marriages.  However, the Church of England and the Church in Wales are specifically prevented by the legislation from conducting same-sex marriages.

The new Act remains separate from the Marriage Act 1949, which allows opposite-sex couples to marry, although the provisions are largely the same and afford married same-sex couples the same legal status as married opposite-sex couples.  The term “marriage” and “married couple” is now extended to include same-sex couples.  However, there are some differences between the provisions for annulment and divorce for same-sex marriages and those in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act and those provided for same-sex couples in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

The new legislation also makes some amendments to the Gender Reassignment Act 2004. The amendments enable existing marriages registered in England and Wales or outside the UK to continue where one or both parties change their legal gender and both parties wish to remain married. It also amends the Act to enable a civil partnership to continue where both parties change their gender simultaneously and wish to remain in their civil partnership.

A same-sex marriage remains distinct from a civil partnership, although couples who have previously entered into a civil partnership will be able to convert it into a marriage by way of an application.  The resulting marriage will then be treated as having begun on the date of the civil partnership.  Details of the procedure are still to be finalised before the law is implemented.

Civil partnerships currently remain available only to opposite-sex couples but the Government has indicated that it will review this in the near future.

Our commitment to ensure the needs of LGBT people  are considered in our work

Our Equality Analysis process requires that we take account of the needs of LGBT people when carrying out Equality Analysis.  As part of this process we consult with our LGBT staff network (PRIDE in SECAmb) and review existing evidence to provide the best possible outcomes and experience for our patients.  The following are examples useful information used to support our decision making:

Useful Info