Equal marriage becomes law

News from the Government Equalities Office, 17 July 2013

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has successfully completed its parliamentary passage and today received Royal Assent.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 will, for the first time, allow same sex couples to marry in England and Wales in a civil ceremony. It will also allow them to marry in a religious ceremony, where the religious organisation has opted in to such marriages and the minister of religion agrees.

The new legislation also reiterates the Government’s absolute commitment to religious freedom by ensuring that no religious organisation or individual minister can be forced to conduct same sex marriages.

It is noted that the Act now also includes requirement for the Secretary of State to arrange for a review of occupational pension scheme benefits provided to survivors of same sex and opposite sex couples in legal relationships, It is hoped that this review will take account of the circumstances of transgender people who were forced by law to dissolve their marriages before the present legislation was passed.

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