Civil servants drafting UK marriage law lost for words over gay sex

Weeks before a draft marriage equality bill is released, ministers decide to allow judges define 'gay consummation' and 'gay adultery'

Civil servants drafting UK marriage law lost for words over gay sex
02 December 2012 Print This Article

Civil servants are currently lost for words as they attempt to draft the marriage equality bill for the UK government.

In a draft proposal, they cannot decide what constitutes consummation of a gay or lesbian relationship.

Weeks before the government has said it will publish its proposals for same-sex marriage, ministers have opted to leave the matter to judges to define, the Sunday Times reports.

Civil servants have reportedly been considering the intricacies of gay sex for months, and have taken evidence from sex experts and gay rights organizations in an attempt to what defines consummation between two women and two men.

In a straight relationship, consummation is only defined as complete penetration of the vagina by the penis, although it does not matter if a condom or ejaculation is involved.

While some believe consummation could be left out of the draft law, ministers have decided to make same-sex marriage an exact replica of opposite-sex marriage except for the right to marry in a church.

This means like with straights, gay couples will have to consummate their marriage for it to be valid. If they do not, it could lead to the union being annulled.

Under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, a marriage can be annulled if one of the couple has the incapacity to consummate it, or a man or woman has wilfully refused to do so.

When the UK government introduced civil partnerships for same-sex couples in 2004 they avoided the issue, saying non-consummation was not a reason for declaring the union void.

If lesbian and gay couples also wish to annul their marriage because of adultery, they will also have to go in front of a judge for it to be defined.

In May 2012, ministers said they were considering taking sex out of the marriage law – for both straight and gay couples – entirely.

However Conservative MP Edward Leigh claimed it would reduce marriage to the level of a civil partnership.

‘It will have profound effects on the ability of individuals to have a marriage annulled’ he said.

‘This is important to Catholics for whom annulment is permitted by the church, but divorce is not.’

The UK government is expected to release their proposal for marriage equality shortly before the Christmas holiday in 2012.

HAVE YOUR SAY

OTHER POSTS

No thumbnail available

Strictly Come Dancing star Lisa Riley is gay man in woman’s body

Dance partner Robin Windsor says former Emmerdale actor Riley is camp, fun and like a gay man
No thumbnail available

LGBTs support UK plans to tackle emotional domestic abuse

One in four people in same-sex relationships suffer from domestic violence or abuse in the UK
No thumbnail available

KGB pressures GayBelarus teen activist

Belarus secret police quiz 18-year-old in Hronda as state turns spotlight on gay group
No thumbnail available

Lawmaker tweets school is a ‘failure’ for gay-straight t-shirt students

T-shirt to bring ‘harmony’ between straight and LGBT students is attacked by Missouri Republican in Twitter message
No thumbnail available

NY gay black and Latino bar forced out by landlord

No Parking, the first gay bar in Washington Heights in upper Manhattan, closed this past weekend to make way for a Planet Fitness gym
No thumbnail available

Authorities try to shut down Russia's only support group for LGBTI youths because of 'gay propaganda'

Founder Lena Klimova said she would take proceedings to the European Court of Justice should the project be banned
No thumbnail available

Lesbian, 17, attacked by teen boys in Canada

An attack on a 17-year-old teenager is being treated by police as a possible hate crime
No thumbnail available

Scottish imams call gay marriage 'attack' on Islam

Muslim clerics in Glasgow have opposed the Scottish government's plans to legalize same-sex marriage, despite majority support
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Grindr hooks up with gay activists to lift Turkey ban on its dating app

Turkish LGBT group KAOS GL says Grindr ban is sign of government interference in their lives