A day in May

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Easons | 16215gh

Veteran Irish journalist Charlie Bird has just published his new book “A day in May” about the historic referendum last year in the Republic of Ireland which paved the way for gay marriage.

The book chronicles the lead-up to the historic Marriage Equality referendum last May.

The book includes 50 powerful interviews with members of the LGBT community in Ireland and their family and friends, which was inspired by his involvement chairing the ‘Yes Campaign’ in last year’s referendum.

http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/tv-news/charlie-bird-labels-himself-one-of-the-most-heterosexual-men-in-the-world-ahead-of-marriage-next-week-34692560.html

http://www.easons.com/p-4254000-day-in-may.aspx

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Gay Marriage in the UK

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How to Man Up | 14018

Gay Marriage in England, Scotland and Wales

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 became law on 17 July 2013. The Act permitted same sex marriages in England and Wales commencing from 29 March 2014. Couples wishing to be among the first to marry had to give formal notice of their intention to marry on 13 March 2014.

The Act introduced the marriage of same sex couples in England and Wales, and contained measures about gender change by married persons and civil partners, about consular functions in relation to marriage, for the marriage of armed forces personnel overseas, for permitting marriages according to the usages of belief organisations to be solemnized on the authority of certificates of a superintendent registrar, for the review of civil partnership, and for the review of survivor benefits under occupational pension schemes.

A marriage between two people of the same sex became legal, but religious organisations were not compelled to perform them. There were guidelines by which the religious opt-out will be enforced and enabled. Same sex marriages could be conducted in religious buildings and the Act states how they should be performed and registered.

For members of the Church of England, that means that you will not be able to get married in Church, you will have to get married somewhere else, and then go and see your Vicar to have your union blessed informally by him. He is required to discuss aspects of the Church’s teachings about marriage with you.

Same sex marriages are allowed in other religions and in Chapels in the Armed Forces. Deathbed same sex marriages are also legalised. Marriages of same sex couples in Churches in Wales are legalised.

Couples who have already had a civil partnership ceremony would be able to convert their civil partnership into a full marriage from 10 December, 2014. To convert a civil partnership into marriage, a couple will have to attend a registry office and sign a declaration that they wish to be married in front of a registrar. A set of Statutory Instruments to enable this is being drawn up between a number of Government Departments.

Persons who have had a gender change can take part in same sex marriages.

The Foreign Marriage Act of 1862 was repealed.

15,098 gay couples have legally married since gay marriage became legal on 29 March 2014.

7,366 were new marriages and 7,732 were conversions from civil partnerships to marriages.

The number of couples opting for civil partnerships fell by 70% between 2013 and 2014. The most popular month in which to get married was August 2014 with 844 marriages.

55% of marriages were between female couples and 45% were between male couples.

Gay Marriage became legal in Scotland on 16 December 2014.

The Jersey Assembly voted in September 2015 to introduce gay marriage on the island from 2017.

Scottish Government – Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill
The Same Sex Marriage Act 2013 [pdf]
Directgov, No Date: Marriages and civil partnerships in the UK
Deed Poll Service, No Date: A couple’s name change rights and options upon a civil partnership
Gov UK, No Date: Civil partnerships review terms of reference and timetable
Government of Scotland, No Date: Scottish Government Review of Civil Partnership
Science Daily, 13 July 2010: How sexual agreements affect HIV risk, relationship satisfaction
The Law Commission, 6 Feb 2012: Clarifying the law on financial provision for couples when relationships end
BBC News, 12 Dec 2012: Gay marriage: Draft bill launched in Scotland
Gay History, 17 July 2013: Gay Marriage, England and WalesGuardian, 5 Nov 2013: Ireland to hold referendum on gay marriage
BBC News, 10 Dec 2013: Same-sex weddings to begin in March
Pink News, 24 Jan 2014: UK Government launches consultation into future of civil partnerships
BBC, 4 Feb 2014: Scotland’s same-sex marriage bill is passedDaily Telegraph, 15 Feb 2014: Church offers prayers after same sex weddings but bans gay priests from marrying
Guardian, 26 June 2014: Civil partnerships can be converted to marriages from December 2014
BBC, 16 December 2014: Gay marriage becomes legal in Scotland
BBC News, 19 October 2015 – Gay marriage statistics

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The Review of Civil Partnerships

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How to Man Up | 14018

The UK Government decided to review the Civil Partnership Act 2004. Concerns were raised by MPs over the issue of civil partnerships and their role in light of same sex marriage legislation.

The Civil Partnership Act was passed by the House of Lords on 17 November 2004. It enabled single sex couples to officially register their partnerships and themselves as civil partners, bringing them certain legal rights and responsibilities on a par with married couples. Civil Partnership registration services became available throughout the UK (except the Isle of Man) on 21 December 2005. The Isle of Man civil partnership act came into effect on 6 April 2011.

In 2011, 6,795 couples had UK civil partnership ceremonies, an increase of 6.4% since 2010. Dissolutions were up by a quarter. In 2004 the Labour government estimated that between 11,000 and 22,000 people would be likely to take-up civil partnerships by 2010; by the end of last year, it was actually 106,834. Lesbian couples are more likely than male gay couples to dissolve their partnerships. 2.2 per cent of gay male civil partnerships had ended in dissolution, compared to 4.6 per cent of lesbian partnerships. There were 672 dissolutions in 2011, up from 522 in 2010. Male couples on average formed civil partnerships at the age of just over 40, while lesbian women were typically 38 years old.

The review was intended to

look at the functioning and operation of the 2004 Act in England and Wales, decide what the future of the Act should be, assess the need and demand for civil partnerships after marriage becomes available for same sex couples, consider whether Civil Partnerships should be made available to all couples, do risk assesments and cost/benefit assessments, and make recommendations.

The results of the review were published in June 2014.

Over 10,000 people took part in the consultation. Less than a third of respondents supported abolition of civil partnership. The majority were against closing civil partnership to new couples. Over three-quarters were against opening up civil partnership to opposite sex couples.

As there was a lack of consensus on the way forward, the Government decided not to make any further changes. Gay couples now have the choice of a civil partnership or a marriage, but straight people do not have the option to opt for a civil partnership.

The results of the review of civil partnerships, June 2014

Adoption: the secret way of getting married for gay men

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Bayard Rustin and Walter Naegle | NPR | 15399

The New York Times have been delving into the history of gay men who could not marry, so one partner adopted the other partner, instead.

Adult adoption by gays and lesbians has only been quietly discussed, both in or outside the gay community, for fairly obvious reasons; there isn’t an easy way to tell your friends and family that the man or woman with whom you share a bed is, legally, your son or father, or your daughter or mother. Consequently, there are no reliable data — or even flimsy data — as to the number of such adoptions, and experts in the field are unwilling to hazard a guess. The practice seems to have taken hold amid the tumult of the 1970s and 1980s, during rampant discrimination and the onset of the AIDS crisis.

Some famous people got round the lack of an option to get married by one adopting the other, it seems. Bayard Rustin and Walter Naegle, pictured, used the legal dodge to protect their interests.

Naegle and Rustin were attracted to each other immediately — they kissed for the first time that day — and became a couple thereafter. During their 10 years together, marriage was not discussed; it simply wasn’t imaginable. .. Rustin wanted to ensure that Naegle — who, at 37 years his junior, would surely outlive him — would inherit his estate, he availed himself of the least-bad option: adoption… Naegle recalled the adoption process: First, his biological mother had to legally disown him. Then a social worker was dispatched to the Rustin-Naegle home in Manhattan to determine if it was fit for a child. “She was apprised of the situation and knew exactly what was happening,” Naegle told me. “Her concern, of course, was that he wasn’t some dotty old man that I was trying to take advantage of, and that I wasn’t some naive young kid that was being preyed upon by an older man.”

The adoption proved a shrewd decision. Naegle, as next of kin, had visiting privileges when Rustin was hospitalized for a perforated appendix and peritonitis and was eventually executor of the will. Despite the oddness of the arrangement, it was, all things considered, legally seamless.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/19/magazine/the-lost-history-of-gay-adult-adoption.html?_r=0

http://www.npr.org/2015/06/28/418187875/long-before-same-sex-marriage-adopted-son-could-mean-life-partner (Audio report NPR)


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Gay Marriage legal in the whole US – Supreme Court ruling 26 June 2015

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Jim Bourg/Reuters | 15157

On 26 June 2015 the US Supreme Court decided 5-4 that individual state bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional, and that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution requires all 50 states to issue marriage licences to gay and lesbian couples.

The first legal gay marriages in the US were conducted in Massachusetts in 2004. By the time of the decision, 36 states and Washington DC were allowing same sex marriages.

The case was known as Obergefell versus Hodges.

The US became the 21st nation in the world to recognise same sex marriage throughout the country.

The author of the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy, wrote:

The Court now holds that same sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/26/gay-marriage-legal-supreme-court


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London: Ken Livingstone and Partnership Ceremonies

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In 2001 London Mayor Ken Livingstone introduced a partnership registration service for same sex couples. The registrations recognised the partnership of the individuals but did not confer any legal rights. The new register was called the London Partnerships Register. The register was open to heterosexual as well as gay couples.

The first couple to take advantage of the scheme, which pre-dated Civil Partnerships and demonstrated the need and desirability of giving same sex couples rights, were Ian Burford and Alexander Cannell, who had been together already for 38 years.

They had a five-minute ceremony conducted by Rob Coward, a specially-trained officer with Greater London Authority.

Couples taking part in the ceremony received a certificate but the register was not made available to the public for confidentiality reasons. The register was designed to be self-financing, charging couples £85 to register their details.

The Greater London Authority was the first public body in the United Kingdom to recognise same-sex relationships as being on a par with heterosexual partnerships.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1525205.stm


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First gay Church wedding in the UK

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13 April 2014 | Metropolitan Community Church | 14103

Jan Tipper and Barb Burden made history when they were married at the Metropolitan Community Church in Bournemouth on Sunday, 13 April 2014. Reverend Dwayne Morgan, who officiated, said the church had “taken pride in celebrating diversity”.

This was the first gay wedding ceremony in Britain to be conducted in a religious building.

MCC was established in Bournemouth in 1979 and is associated with the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, which has churches in over 40 countries. Mr Morgan said the church had been blessing gay couples for more than three decades.

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Gay Marriage, England and Wales

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The Most Cake | 14163

The UK Government published their plans for legalising gay marriage in England and Wales on Tuesday, November 11, 2012. The consultation on plans for same-sex marriage received 228,000 submissions.

The government planned to introduce gay marriage in England and Wales by 2014. Gay marriage legislation did not feature in the election manifestos of either the Conservative or Liberal Democrat parties, the two parties in Britain’s then Coalition Government. To appease more than 100 Tory MPs planning to vote against the legislation, the Government proposed a “quadruple lock” to make it illegal for gay marriage ceremonies to be conducted by the churches of England and Wales.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was published on 24 January 2013, to enable same-sex couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies – where a religious institution has formally consented; and couples would be able to convert their existing civil partnership into a marriage.

The first debate on the Bill and the Second Reading was held on 5 February 2013. 400 MPs voted in favour of the Bill and 175 MPs voted against. The Bill then went to Committee where it was examined in great detail, and supporters and opponents could give evidence supporting their views. The Committee finished its deliberations on the Bill on 12 March 2013. The Bill passed its third reading on 21 May 2013 by 366 votes for, to 161 votes against.

The Guardian reported on 12 December 2012 that public opinion appeared to be overwhelmingly in favour of equality in marriage. Three-quarters of voters supported same-sex marriage. 45% thought that gay people should be allowed to get married to each other but religious organisations should not be required to provide wedding ceremonies to gay people, but 28% thought that gay people should be allowed to get married to each other and religious organisations should be required to provide wedding ceremonies to gay people. Nearly three quarters of voters – 73% – wanted to allow gay marriage while less than a quarter – 24% – did not. Only one in six – 17% – thought that gay people should not be allowed to get married but should be allowed to form a civil partnership.

The House of Lords passed the Bill on July 15th, 2013. The Government decided to accept the Bill as amended by The Lords, and on July 16th 2013 the Bill was formally passed by the Commons. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II gave the Act the Royal Assent on July 17th 2013. The Act is now operational.

Updated 13 Nov 2014 – Act now operational.


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Jack Baker and Michael McConnell

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Jack Baker and Michael McConnell | Minnesota Historical Society | 14182

In 1973, gay rights activist Jack Baker and his partner, Michael McConnell, used subterfuge to get married.

Baker was a law student and McConnell a librarian. They’d been together for four years when they first applied for a marriage licence in 1970. This was rejected because they were both men, but the couple decided to fight. They appealed, and kept on appealing until the case reached the US Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case “for want of a substantial federal question”.

Undeterred, they tried again. Baker changed his name to the gender-neutral “Pat Lyn”. The licence was issued and they began to plan a wedding. They asked a Methodist minister to perform the ceremony and went through weeks of pre-marital counselling like any heterosexual couple preparing for a Methodist wedding. But with 24 hours to go, the minister changed his mind.

Pastor Roger Lynn | BBC | 14183

Pastor Roger Lynn, pictured, holding the men’s wedding licence, stepped forward. “It wasn’t just a marriage… it was a social event in the gay community,” says Lynn. Lynn pronounced the couple ‘husband and husband’” and jumped at the chance to conduct the ceremony. His church then had no rules against marrying people of the same sex. “The Methodist church has always taken a strong stand on social issues… I expected that the progressive side of the church would support me.” At the end of the ceremony, when many of the congregation came up to the pastor in tears, he says he knew he’d done the right thing. “It was very clear that these two people were in love with each other, and they were a good balance,” he says.

And the happy couple – are still together after all this time. They still live together in Minneapolis and consider themselves legally married as their licence has never been revoked!

Our previous article about Jack Baker and Michael McConnell


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