The British government is expected to announce full marriage equality for gays and lesbians under reforms to marriage laws expected to be announced later this week by the Liberal Democrat equality minister, Lynne Featherstone.
The announcement will also include the time table for civil partnerships to be held in religious buildings. The reported move will end the final major legal discrimination against gays and lesbians in Britain.
Civil partnerships were introduced in 2005 and offer gays and lesbian couples similar legal rights to straight married couples. Differences include the grounds for dissolution, some insurance and pension rights and they are not recognised as having the same status as marriage abroad.
A consequence of the ban on gay marriage means that a married transgendered person must divorce their partner before being recognised in their new gender. In addition, couples are barred from having any religious elements in the civil partnership ceremony.
An amendment the Equality Act by Labour peer Lord Waheed Alli was passed just prior to the election, but the new government delayed the implementation of the changes. Religious institutions are not forced to host ceremonies if they do not wish to.
Should full same-sex marriage be codified in English law, the only other significant legal discrimination against LGBTQ persons will be the ban on donating blood, although the UK governments have previously signaled in the past that they will look to end this practice.
Last year, a poll for PinkNews.co.uk found that 98% of the LGBT population support full gay equality and that civil partnerships are not good enough.
Filed under: Europe