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Equality at last for same-sex couples?

Marriage is more than mere attorneyship, but to properly advise clients lawyers need to pay close attention to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, say Ann Northover and Spencer Clarke

15 February 2013

Despite the near-parity offered by the introduction of civil partnerships in late 2005, for many gay people same-sex marriage is about affording them equal status. It is a hot topic of debate in the UK; the bill progressed through its second reading in the House of Commons and was passed by a substantial majority of 400 to 175, despite much Tory opposition. It goes to the committee stage on 12 February and seems likely to become law. Internationally, same-sex marriage is a reality in Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden inside the EU and also in Argentina, Canada, Iceland, Norway and South Africa (and certain US and Brazilian states). 

Clause 1(1) of the bill amends the Marriage Act 1949 to make lawful the marriage of same-sex couples.

The bill only extends to England and Wales but there is provision (in clause 10 and schedule 2) for a same-sex marriage to be treated as a c...

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