What to know about the legalisation of same-sex marriage
What is the legal status of same sex marriage?
The issue has been debated by the courts for decades, but the law was introduced in England and Wales in 2015 and Scotland last year.
It was not legally recognised until this year.
The first marriage was held in 2014.
Who is allowed to marry?
You can only get married if you are 18 years old and have been living together for at least one year.
If you are a married person and you want to get married, you must apply to the Office for Marriage and Civil Partnership (OMC) and tell them you are in a same-gender relationship.
You will be asked to explain your reasons for wanting to marry.
A person in a gay or lesbian relationship can get married by saying: “I feel I should be married to another man”.
They will then need to get a court order to have a ceremony.
How many people can get legally married in the UK?
There are currently around 5,000 same-year civil partnerships in England, Wales and Scotland.
These marriages are recognised by the OMC, but there are currently about 10,000 people in a legal same-age civil partnership.
Are civil partnerships recognised by both the state and by the church?
The Church of England says it recognises civil partnerships, although the Church of Scotland does not.
It says it has a policy of not endorsing any particular form of civil union.
The Church has previously supported same- sex marriage, but it has been a divisive issue.
It has also been a point of contention in the US and Canada.
The American Supreme Court has ruled that a federal law banning same- gender marriage violates the US constitution.
The US Congress has passed legislation allowing states to make it easier for same- age couples to get legally recognised.
How do I get married?
You must get married in a civil ceremony and the person you marry must live with you.
You can get the marriage registered with the OPC if you live in a country where it is legal.
This can take years, but if you want your marriage to be recognised by another country, you will need to apply to a judge.
You may be required to prove that your relationship is compatible with the other person.
It can take three years for the court to rule.
Who has legal responsibility for a civil partnership?
If your partner is living with you in a foreign country, they are responsible for paying the costs of a civil marriage.
Your partner will be given a certificate stating that they are not eligible to marry another person.
If they marry another couple, they will be required by law to pay their partner’s legal fees.
If both of you are living together in the same country, it is likely that the state will also provide you with a certificate.
Can a marriage be made legal if both people in the couple are legally married?
If you and your partner are in the country legally, the marriage is not recognised.
However, if you and someone you know are married in another country and living together, they may be able to legally marry.
However they may also have to pay the costs.
They will be able apply for a court case to have their civil marriage recognised.
The OMC says there are no legal barriers to gay or straight couples being married.
What happens if a marriage is registered?
The legal marriage will be recognised if both of the following are true: both people who have married are living in the jurisdiction.
If one of you is in a different country and the other is, the two people must be legally married.
The couple may still have to provide proof of their relationship.
They must get a certificate that they have not been living apart.
If either of you cannot prove that you are legally related, you may need to go to court.
What is a civil contract?
A civil contract is a legal agreement between two people.
It does not need to be registered or recognised.
What does it mean if I am not legally related to someone?
If someone is not legally married, they can legally divorce you and get you back in a legally recognised civil partnership if they want.
If someone in a relationship with you is not in a recognised civil union, you can apply to get them registered as your partner.
They can get a declaration from the court that they do not need a civil relationship to be together.
They may also apply to have you married as your new partner.
What are the legal consequences if I break a civil commitment?
If both people have broken a civil engagement, the court may decide that they need to break their civil commitment.
They are likely to take away your passport, change your address, take your bank details and even revoke your driver’s licence.
If the court says you cannot continue living together and if you cannot get married legally, you could be in court for an attempted fraud charge.
What do I do if I have a civil partner?
If a civil couple have broken their civil engagement and you cannot be married legally and you need to live with
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