Proposals for gay marriages unveiled

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Revolutionary reforms for new "gay marriages" were being proposed by ministers today.

Revolutionary reforms for new "gay marriages" were being proposed by ministers today.

The controversial civil partnerships will grant gays and lesbians the same legal rights as married couples for the first time.

A Bill was expected to propose allowing gays to sign an official document in front of a registrar and two witnesses.

But the measures were not believed to permit gay couples to have a formal public ceremony.

A document published by the Department for Trade and Industry last June suggested the registration will only be available to homosexual couples and not as an alternative to heterosexual marriage.

Today's radical moves, which would cover England and Wales, will allow gays to benefit from a dead partner's pension, grant next of kin rights in hospitals and exempt them from inheritance tax on a partner's home.

Last year's consultation paper did not use the term "gay marriage" but the civil partnerships were clearly designed to mirror a marriage contract as closely as possible.

Partners will even be able to dissolve the agreement in a form of "divorce".

Deputy minister for women and equality Jacqui Smith said last June that the contracts would also mean gay couples have also formal responsibilities.

During each "marriage", partners will be able to gain responsibility for each others' children and be obliged to support each other financially, she said.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone set up Britain's first register for gay couples in September 2001.

Comments