How to have a gay marriage in the UK

Since December 2005 gay and lesbian couples in the UK have been able to have civil partnerships.  On 4th June 2013 the law changed and peers voted in favour of the ‘Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill’.  On 10th December 2013 an announcement was made stating the first gay marriage could take place on Saturday 29 March 2014.

gay marriage guide ukWhat is the first date we can have a gay, same sex, marriage?

Saturday 29 March 2014 – we expect this day to be very popular, if you are aiming to marry on the first possible day we suggest starting the process now and trying to make an appointment.

What is the process and how do I do it?

In exactly the same way as heterosexual couples you need to ‘give notice’ 15 full days before the actual wedding day, so this is really 16 days! Both of you must be a resident in England or Wales for at least 7 days before giving notice.

‘Giving notice’ is done at your local Register Offices  (see here to find you local registry office )

The fee for giving notice if £35 each, regardless of where you live in the UK.

Both of you need to bring:

  1. Proof of nationality – for example passport
  2. Proof of name and address – for example utility bill, how romantic!
  3. Proof of date of birth – for example driving license, provisional is ok
  4. Proof you are divorced – if applicable.

During your appointment you will be individually interviewed to ensure it is a genuine relationship, so don’t be worried if they ask you a few question – this is perfectly normal.

In the notice you must state where you plan on getting married and also what date; this is then entered into the marriage notice book.

15 days after this, if no one has objected, the registrar will issue a marriage schedule – you need this to get married.

If you have having a religious marriage, check the time scales they require between giving notice and the ceremony as some countersign the marriage schedule.

All marriages must take place within a year of the notice, don’t let this deadline pass or you will need to do it again!

Where can we actually get married?

You can get married at your local registry office or anywhere that is licensed for marriage apart from some religious places.

What about a religious marriage?

Under the terms of the bill each religious organisation must opt into the bill rather than opt out, the Church of England and Church in Wales has been excluded from opting in.

We already have a civil partnership how and when can we get it changed into a marriage?

Unfortunately the government has not yet stated the process or exact time scales however they have given a time frame of  ‘by the end of 2014’. Couples who are already in a Civil Partnerships cannot enter into a Same Sex Marriage at present.