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Law Articles

A Fair Act? 10/05/2016

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act of 2013 broke milestones in many ways but there are still some aspects of it that require modification. There are still some elements of the Act that have been described as discriminatory in some circles and they are underlined below.

At present parties cannot use adultery as one of the facts for a divorce and marriages cannot be annulled because the law still defines intercourse as being between members of the opposite sex. For the fact of adultery, same sex couples would use unreasonable behaviour to cover intercourse however adultery can still be used if one of the parties in a same sex marriage committed adultery with a member of the opposite sex. Hmmm…

In respect of parentage in same sex marriages the presumption in heterosexual relationships is that with a married woman, a child is the child of the husband. Whilst The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act of 2008 extends this presumption to include women in civil partnerships so that other partners are considered to be parents, this does not apply to The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act of 2013.

Then you have pension inheritance between same sex couples. A surviving partner is still not entitled to receive the full value of the deceased partner’s pension. Many companies are now paying this but it is not law.

Aside from this, finding somewhere to get married in the first place creates a huge obstacle in itself. The Church of England and the Church of Wales will not marry Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) people despite the changes in the law in 2013. Many smaller denominations share their premises with these churches and with marriage you have to register the premises to be granted a certificate to be able to perform the custom of marriage. With the veto being granted by the landlord who tends to be the more traditional denomination, many other religions find themselves not being allowed to perform same sex marriages within their church.

Finally, you have transgender marriages. Unfortunately the Act doesn’t account for the restoration of marriages that were annulled as a precondition of securing a gender recognition certificate.

So whilst the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act of 2013 brought social recognition and public acceptance of same sex marriages, there is still plenty of scope for updates within the Act.

For further information and advice on this issue, and other family law issues, please contact us for a free initial consultation on 01992 306 616 or 0207 956 2740 or email us.

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Manor Law Ltd, trading as Manor Law Family Solicitors, is a registered company in England and Wales - number 07977350, and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority - Hertford office SRA number 567506 and City of London office SRA number 568637. Copyright © Manor Law, 2016. All rights reserved.

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