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Same-Sex (Gay/Lesbian) Marriage Law in UK, Spain & Gibraltar

Same-Sex Marriage Laws in European Countries

The global attitude towards same-sex marriages or civil partnership has been gradually changing for the better. Most countries and nations have accepted homosexual weddings in the society, and more marriages are being witnessed. Global and national surveys have shown that at least 60% of the European population supports these unions.

Europe has been at the forefront in enacting legislation favoring same sex unions. More than two thirds of the nations making up the European Union have legalized these marriages. With Netherlands, being among the first nations to allow these marriages and most recently Ireland has passed legislation favoring heterosexual couples with a popular vote of more than 62%.

In Spain, same-sex marriage has been legal since 3rd July 2005. The newly elected Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) led by Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero started a campaign for its legalization and right of adoption by same-sex couples in 2004.

Same Sex Marriage Laws in UK

The same sex couples act 2013 was debated and passed on 17th of July 2013 and essentially made these marriages lawful in England and Wales. This legislation sought to demonstrate the government and societies respect to all individuals in spite of their sexuality, thus fairer and inclusive for everyone. With the passing of the act, it henceforth;

  • Allowed gay or lesbian couples conduct their marriage in civil ceremonies,
  • Enabled religious organizations to conduct the wedding ceremonies in accordance to their rites
  • Protected those religious organization that do not wish to conduct homophile marriages
  • Allowed partners to easily convert their relationships to formal marriages
  • Allowed legal genders to be changed among partners without ending the union

Through this legislation, freedom of expression is guaranteed and citizens can openly follow their faith under legal protection. Teachers are also expected to teach the factual and legal position, and parents can choose whether to have their children taught sex education.

The law that permits civil partnerships and change of their legal gender while remaining married came into effect on December 10th, 2014. The same-gender marriage started in England and Wales at midnight on March 29th, 2014.

Same-Sex Marriage Laws in Spain

The year 2015 saw Spain celebrate 10 years of legalization of closeted marriages. These changes were brought to force by the socialist government in the year 2005. This happened in June 30th 2005 when the motion was passed giving couples the same rights ,freedom to marry, and have or adopt children despite of the gender.

The marriage of different religions such as Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim are celebrated in Spain for the couples above 18. The Spanish law permits foreigners to marry in Spain, but it is mandatory for one of the couples to have been legally resident of Spain for at least two years.Other provisions of the law were:

  • Spanish citizens can marry non-Spanish, irrespective of whether the other person’s homeland recognizes the union. The GLBT marriage is allowed provided one of the parties if Spanish citizen.
  • Two non-Spaniards can marry as long as they have legal residence in Spain.

Same Sex Marriage Laws in Gibraltar

In Gibraltar, the marriage amendment bill 2016 was unanimously passed and assented. It became operational on the 15th of December 2016. The law Cited as “the civil marriage amendment act 2016” brought amendments to the act. These were:

  • Insertion of “ Marriage of same sex couples in a place of worship”
  • Provisions for deputy registrars to opt out where the reason for this is that it concerns a same sex marriage. In this case, an alternative registrar is sought.
  • “Conversion of civil partnership into a marriage”

The matrimonial causes act was also amended in the same spirit, such as to remove the word “sodomy”. The reference to husband and wife was also made to read as reference to a husband and husband, and wife to a wife as applicable.


With the passing of these laws, there has been sustained commitment from both the government and society in support of fair treatment for same-gender people orientation. The main approach has been the recognition of bisexual unions in the constitutions and allowed them to be held openly without any form of discrimination.