Equal Love

Thank you to everyone who helped us win same-sex marriage. Your lobbying and generosity has meant that we are another huge step closer to equality. The first same-sex marriages are expected to take place in the summer of 2014.

Although the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act is a very welcome and important advance, it is not full equality. When the government next year undertakes its review of the ban on civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples, we will lobby to end the remaining discrimination. If you’re subscribed to receive our campaign emails, we will inform you of the latest developments. Subscribe here.

Please consider a donation, to help us continue the campaign for full equality.

Same-sex marriages are legalised under a new law that is separate and different from the Marriage Act 1949. Separate and different are not equal.

There are six aspects of discrimination in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act:

  • Pension inheritance rights are fewer on death of a same-sex marriage spouse. The surviving partner is not entitled to receive the full value of their deceased partner’s pension. Employers are required by law to pay same-sex survivor’s pensions based only on contributions made since 2005. Although many employers are likely to pay out from 1988 onwards, this is discretionary and may not be the full value of the lifetime pension contributions by a same-sex spouse. This means that pension contributions made in the years before 2005/1988 are in many instances discounted and will not be received by the surviving same-sex marriage partner.

  • Although David Cameron argued that same-sex marriage is an issue of equality, the ban on opposite-sex civil partnerships remains. Straight couples continue to be prohibited from having a civil partnership, even though the government’s own public consultation on equal marriage found that 61% of respondents supported the right of heterosexual couples to have a civil partnership if they want one. Only 24% disagreed. In the Netherlands, two-thirds of civil partnerships are between male-female couples. A similar take up is likely in the UK if civil partnerships were available to heterosexuals.

  • The long-standing grounds for the annulment of a marriage or for a divorce - non-consummation and adultery - do not apply in the case of same-sex marriages. To many people, these are antiquated aspects of marriage law that should be repealed. Nevertheless, this differential in the law governing same-sex and opposite-sex married couples is not equality.

  • There is no restoration of the marriages of transgender people that were forcibly annulled as a precondition for them securing a gender recognition certificate. Moreover, the spouse of a transgender person must consent to the marriage continuing after the issue of a certificate.

  • Under the so-called ‘quadruple lock’ legislation, the Church of England and the Church in Wales are explicitly banned from performing religious same-sex marriages. While other faiths can ‘opt in’ to marry LGBT people, these two denominations are prohibited. This is not only homophobic discrimination; it is also an attack on religious freedom.

  • The special requirements for registering premises for the conduct of religious same-sex marriages are more restrictive than for opposite-sex marriages in religious premises. In the case of premises shared for faith services by several small denominations - which is often the case with anti-gay, evangelical churches and pro-LGBT churches - all the sharing faith organisations have to give their permission for the premises to be used for same-sex marriages. In effect, anti-gay churches will have a veto over pro-gay churches.


Take Action

Sign the Equal Love petition. This petition is appealing to the government to end the twin bans on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships.

Email your MP and MEPs, urging them to raise the issue of continued discrimination in the same-sex marriage law, when further consultations begin.

Subscribe to receive our e-bulletins to stay updated about the campaign.

Make a donation to help us fund the Equal Love campaign and challenge the remaining discrimination.