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Content about LGBT rights in the United Kingdom

December 10, 2014

Long awaited day is here

Gay English and Welsh couples can officially convert their civil partnerships into marriages from today (10 December).

More than 60,000 partnerships have been formed over the past decade, with many of them expected to be converted at register offices up and down the country.

For the next year, all couples who formed their civil partnership before 29 March 2014 (the day gay couples could legally get married in England and Wales) will receive a £45 ($70, €57) fee reduction - making it free.

October 22, 2014

A comprehensive report by Human Rights Watch details how Jamaica’s LGBT community faces widespread discrimination and violence

A new report by the New York-based organization Human Rights Watch paints a damning portrait of the treatment of LGBT people in Jamaica.

The Human Rights Watch report – Not Safe at Home – follows five weeks of study on the Caribbean island country from April to June last year.

October 13, 2014

Fireworks will be going off not just for the new year this NYE, but for the first ever same-sex marriage in Scotland

Gay couples hoping to get married in Scotland finally have a date from when they can say their vows, following an announcement today (13 October).

The first official same-sex marriages will take place in Scotland on Hogmanay, 31 December 2014.

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act will come into force on 16 December. This means any gay couple in a civil partnership can convert it into marriage, free of charge, from that date.

October 13, 2014

Nathan Gale, of Scottish Transgender Alliance, explains why trans people will be free from the 'spousal veto'

Same-sex marriage will be legal in Scotland from 16 December. Hogmanay, our New Year's Eve, will take on special significance for many couples this year as this will be when the first same-sex weddings take place.

As couples across Scotland plan their big day, trans people who are already married or in a civil partnership can breathe a sigh of relief knowing they can finally have the gender they live as legally recognized without being forced to break up their families.

September 18, 2014

New South Wales approved the bill a day after Victoria introduced similar legislation

New South Wales today became the second Australian state to introduce a bill that will clear historical gay sex convictions, a day after Victoria introduced similar legislation.

The Parliament of New South Wales approved the bill which will be debated later this year.

Bruce Notley-Smith, the gay Liberal MP for Coogee district, introduced the legislation a week after he announced his intention to do so.

September 3, 2014

Daniel Donaldson says Yes LGBT is misleading people into thinking an independent Scotland will better protect gay rights

An equality lawyer has said there are ‘fatal flaws’ in the Rainbow Paper that gay Scottish independence group Yes LGBT published on Monday.

Edinburgh-based Daniel Donaldson said the paper was ‘misleading’ and it was disingenuous of the group to say Scotland had consistently been more progressive than Westminster in terms of gay equality.

September 2, 2014

Yes LGBT group says an independent Scotland would enshrine gay equality in a written constitution

Gay campaigners for Scottish independence have published a Rainbow Paper outlining how  independence would deliver greater equality to LGBT people in Scotland.

This would include enshrining LGBT equality in a written constitution, protecting and improving equality law, protecting spending on LGBT equality measures in public services, creating a compassionate asylum system and promoting LGBT rights around the world.

August 21, 2014

Girls are getting married quicker than the boys, with a 56%-44% split between gay and lesbian couples

Official figures have revealed how many same-sex marriages have taken place in the UK.

A total of 1,409 marriages have taken place from 29 March, the first day gay couples could legally get married in England and Wales, and 30 June.

Of these, 56% were female couples (796 marriages) and 44% were male (613).

When the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2014 was introduced in England and Wales, it triggered a rush of couples wanting to be among the first tie the knot.

August 2, 2014

Same-sex marriage activists including 28 gay couples made a dramatic entrance at a household registration office in Taipei on Friday

As part of a campaign seeking same-sex marriage to be legalized in Taiwan, 28 same-sex couples – accompanied by activists from the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR) – walked into Zhongzheng District Household Registration Office in Taipei on Friday and attempted to register their unions.

Taiwan’s Civil Code stipulates that a marriage must be a union between a man and a woman.

July 29, 2014

On the eve of one of the country’s biggest Gay Pride celebrations, three of the UK’s top politicians send messages of congratulations and solidarity to the British seaside city

The LGBTI community in the coastal city of Brighton received messages of support from the highest level of the UK government ahead of Gay Pride this weekend.

Prime Minister David Cameron penned a letter of encouragement and support in the name of LGBT rights in the UK, joined by Labour Leader Ed Milliband and MP Caroline Lucas John who recorded heartening YouTube videos.

July 25, 2014

Conservative ministers have agreed to rewrite rules for England and Wales gay couples seeking to convert their civil partnerships into a marriage

Gay couples in England and Wales will be able to convert their civil partnership into a marriage in a ‘ceremony with heart’.

From 10 December, thousands of couples already in civil partnerships will be allowed to convert their unions into marriage.

But according to the proposals, they would have only had to pick up a ‘certificate of conversion’ – a piece of paper with very little romance.

As no witnesses would be required, the guidance to councils suggested no family or friends would be able to end and it would not be an official ceremony.

July 24, 2014

The Quakers church in the UK are concerned that same-sex couples who are converting their civil partnerships to marriage will not have the option of doing that in a church

The Quakers, also known as the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, have gone public with their concern that same-sex couples who are converting their civil partnerships to marriages in England and Wales will only be able to do that via register offices and not by a church wedding.

Churches in the UK register the marriages they perform with the government and the Quakers want to be able to perform their members’ same-sex marriages just as they do for opposite-sex Quaker couples.

June 26, 2014

Government has finally announced the date that gay couples in civil partnerships will be allowed to convert them into marriage

Gay couples will still be able to enter into civil partnerships in the UK, but straight couples are still banned from the legal union.

And following a consultation, the UK government has finally announced the date couples in civil partnerships are able to convert their unions into marriage.

That date is 10 December 2014.

More than 120,000 people have entered into a civil partnership since it was made law in 2004.

May 27, 2014

David Coburn MEP, the first UKIP politician elected in Scotland, is opposed to same-sex marriage despite being in a relationship with a man for 30 years

The first UK Independence Party (UKIP) politician elected in Scotland has said gay marriage breeds homophobia.

David Coburn, a member of European Parliament, is opposed to same-sex marriage despite being in a relationship with a man for over 30 years.

He spoke to The Scotsman after he was elected Sunday night (25 May), taking UKIP’s first parliamentary seat in Scotland.

On gay rights, he said: ‘Civil partnerships should be enough.

April 28, 2014

Cardinal Sean Brady and six bishops says it is not discrimination to oppose same-sex marriage as gay and straight relationships are fundamentally different

Bishops in Northern Ireland are demanding politicians to reject gay marriage tomorrow (29 April).

The assembly is due to debate a Sinn Fein-backed proposal to introduce same-sex marriage.

In a letter written to all members of the legislative assembly (MLA), it claims same-sex marriage undermines the principle of equality by applying it ‘inappropriately’.

April 28, 2014

Conservative leader reportedly believes giving straight couples civil partnerships would ‘undermine the sanctity of marriage’

UK Prime Minister David Cameron is opposed to giving straight couples the same equal rights as gays have when it comes to legal unions.

The Conservative leader will reportedly veto proposals to give straight couples the right to enter into civil partnerships.

It is alleged he believes civil partnerships for straight couples would ‘undermine the sanctity of marriage’ and possibly ‘alienate traditional Tory voters’.

March 30, 2014

The couple say they want to be able to call each other ‘husband’ instead of ‘partner’

Celebrity gay couple Elton John and David Furnish are planning to get married, following suit of gay couples all over England and Wales who can now legally marry.

British music icon John, 67, and partner Furnish, 51, have been civil partners since December 2005, entering their civil partnership on the day the act was passed.

The couple told Attitude magazine they plan to marry to further fly the flag for gay equality.

March 28, 2014

Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young will introduce a bill to recognize overseas same-sex marriages in Australia as gay couples in the UK start to wed

Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has announced she will introduce a bill to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed in overseas jurisdictions in reaction to same-sex couples in England and Wales being able to marry from tomorrow.

Hanson-Young has also proposed an inquiry to examine the affect that the legalization of same-sex marriage has had in those jurisdictions where it is legal which would then draft a report for the parliament.

Hanson-Young made the announcement at a press conference earlier today in Melbourne.

March 25, 2014

The News Quiz presenter and her civil partner Debbie will renew their union in front of the public celebrating same-sex marriages in England and Wales

Danish/British TV and radio presenter Sandi Toksvig and her partner Debbie will renew their vows in celebration of the first day of same-sex marriage in England and Wales.

The couple, who have been civil partners since 2007, will celebrate with their four children on the Royal Festival Stage, Southbank Centre in London on 29 March.

‘This is a joyous occasion which Debbie and I look forward to celebrating with old and new friends,’ Sandi Toksvig said.

March 13, 2014

Existing marriages of gay couples that took place overseas are now legally recognized

Gay couples in England and Wales can register for marriage today (13 March).

Existing marriages of gay couples that took place overseas are now legally recognized.

The 15-day notice period to register intent to marry can be waived if one of the partners is terminally ill.

For those who wish to convert their civil partnerships into marriages, that procedure is expected to come into effect later this year.

March 13, 2014

By the end of the year, Scottish gay couples should be able to unite in matrimony. England and Wales couples will be able to marry on 29 March

Queen Elizabeth II has signed same-sex marriage into law in Scotland today (13 March).

By the end of the year, Scottish gay couples will be able to unite in matrimony.

It is the last step in the long battle to get the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill through parliament, making it an Act.

Alex Neil, cabinet secretary for health and wellbeing, said: 'I am delighted that the Same Sex Marriage Bill has now received Royal Assent.

March 11, 2014

Further Afield, who picks through the world’s best hotels and screens them for quality and service, is now offering a wedding planner service to help lock down the venue for your big day

The first same-sex marriages in the UK are expected to take place as early as Saturday 29 March 2014, with same-sex couples able to apply for a wedding license as early as Friday 14.

If you’re looking to get married in the UK (and beyond), Further Afield has launched a new marriage service to help same-sex couples find a stylish venue to get married in and honeymoon across the world.

March 5, 2014

Government calls the oversight 'slightly embarrassing' and is working to get it fixed with new legislation

Isle of Man merchant ships still ban gay sex, a law described as an ‘oversight’ by the government.

Lee Vorster, of the Manx Rainbow Association, said he was ‘shocked’ to discover the archaic law still existed on the partially independent island between England and Ireland.

Famously, the Isle of Man decriminalized homosexuality long after the rest of the British Isles changed its laws.

While gay sex between consenting adults became legal in 1992, the Sexual Offences Act of the same year banned it on Manx-registered ships.

February 22, 2014

Recent poll shows 76% of Irish people said they would vote in favour of introducing same-sex marriage in the country, though nearly half would have ‘reservations’

More than three quarters (76%) of Irish people would welcome the introduction of same-sex marriage, according to a recent poll.

Additionally, 80% of those surveyed agreed that same-sex couples should have the same rights as traditional families.

However despite this, 49% of respondents said they had reservations about same-sex marriage - a higher percentage than when asked if they had reservations about gay couples adopting children (41%).