Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have reportedly declared that they will “not tie the knot” until same-sex marriage is legal everywhere.
Whether or not you care much for the whims of Hollywood “celebs” this high profile protest is symptomatic of the unprecedented move towards equality for same sex couples, which we are witness to, right now, in the UK.
Just this week Peers have backed plans to legalise gay marriage in England and Wales, including by those religious organisations which want to offer it. The Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill was passed after two days of impassioned debate. It has sparked both celebration and criticism in seemingly equal measure throughout our richly diverse society.
You may ask what difference this legislation would make, given that gay couples are already able to formalise their relationship by way of a civil partnership. The answer is that civil partnership is a legal relationship distinct from marriage. Supporters of gay marriage feel that the notion of civil partnership, instead of same-sex marriage, perpetuates the idea that a homosexual relationship is not as valid as a heterosexual one. Also the legal rights conferred by civil partnerships are not exactly the same as those conferred by marriage. Therefore, couples in civil partnerships will be able to convert their relationships into marriages if they so wish.
As family lawyers, we at The Law House are experienced in dealing with divorce, as well as dissolutions of civil partnerships. However, as social change abounds, so does the legal landscape and it follows that family lawyers will soon be dealing with same-sex divorces.
In conclusion, we can only speculate as to whether “Brangelina” will ever make it down the aisle but we do know that their grandchildren will scoff at the notion that same sex couples were once denied the right to marry……. and, of course, to divorce!
If you are in a marriage or civil partnership which has come to an end and you would like some legal advice please contact Venisha Shahon 020 898899 6620 or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org