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Five years since same-sex marriage legalised

This week marks five years since the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 was passed, although the first same-sex marriage took place on 29 March 2014.

Attitudes to same-sex marriage have changed globally during that time, most notably with Ireland voting in a 2015 referendum to approve same-sex marriage by an incredible 62%. Slovenia, Greenland, Finland, Luxembourg and America also approved same-sex marriage in 2015, with Australia, Colombia, Germany, Malta and Costa Rica all following suit in the years since.

It is promising that movements are also being made to now introduce civil partnerships for heterosexual couples following an announcement by the Prime Minister. This seeks to ensure that there is equality in that all relationships have options available to them in this way and are being treated equally.

Some same-sex partners have raised concerns that, although able to marry and be recognised as a married couple in the UK, they are still unable to get married under the Church of England.

Some religious groups, such as the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), have opted to celebrate same-sex marriage but there is no requirement for a religious group to accept same-sex marriage. Likewise, a partner in a same-sex marriage remains unable to petition for divorce under the grounds of adultery unless the adultery was carried out with a member of the opposite sex.

Not all countries recognise same-sex marriages although there are advances in some of these countries with a tolerance and movement towards this. So much has been achieved globally within five years and we look forward to seeing more advancement in the next five years.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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