As England and Wales prepare for the new Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act to come into effect on 29 March, civil servants have identified a list of statutes and regulations dating as far back as 1285 to be amended.
Describing the move as an ‘unprecedented effort to rewrite more than 700 years of law to prevent unintended consequences of gay marriage’, the Telegraph noted that the proposed amendments will prevent the male spouse of a gay king or the Prince of Wales from becoming Queen or Princess of Wales respectively as current laws would provide for.
The proposed amendments include deleting or rewording terms such as ‘widow’ in legislation covering topics as seamen’s pensions and London cab licences; references to mothers, fathers, husbands and wives are also to be amended to avoid future confusion.
Additionally, a clause in the Act according gay and heterosexual marriage the same legal rights will not apply to the rights of anyone ‘who marries, or who is married to, the King Regnant, to the title of Queen’ nor will the male spouses of Dukes, Earls and other male peers be called Duchess, Countess or Lady.
A total of 36 Acts dating back to 1859 and a further 67 pieces of legislation dating back 729 years are expected to be amended. The proposals will be debated by MPs as early as next week.