Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill – Trans issues

The equal marriage bill (PDF Link, HTML links are inline below) has finally been published. From a trans perspective, schedule 5 is the interesting bit and it’s pretty much as expected from the consultation response.

There will be no equal civil partnerships, but for those seeking a Gender Recognition Certificate it’s possible to convert to marriage first. (Section 9) This is an extra set of hoops to jump through which isn’t ideal, and seems to be at odds with the initial claims that conversion and issuing a GRC could be done as a single process. That it’s possible at all is positive however.

Supposedly you can put in a simultaneous Gender Recognition application in the (unlikely) even that both halves of a civil partnership transition and keep the civil partnership. However, the intention was also that annulment and remarriage for a GRC under the old rules would also happen on the same day, whereas in practice that’s not the case.

The bill makes it clear that any converted marriage is to be treated as continuous from the original date of marriage.

If you’re married and your partner consents, you can get a Gender Recognition Certificate and stay married. (Schedule 5) Foreign marriage and marriages in Northern Ireland would still cause a problem here by the looks of things, but realistically there isn’t much the UK Government can do about those.

I don’t see anything on consummation in the bill, which might be of concern to anyone who is non-op. (I.e. retaining their birth genitals) I need to read the bill cover-to-cover to check that one though.

Finally, what’s missing is any provision to restore marriages lost under the old forced-divorce Gender Recognition provisions. That will upset many people,

(Caveat: I only saw the bill for the first time 25 minutes ago so I may have missed something. I’m sure we’ll hear soon enough from those with more time to analyse it)


  1. Can’t see anything about getting marriage certificates amended (if required) but then my look was quick too.

    Non gendered folk might be upset that the Bill is titled ‘same sex’ rather than ‘equal’ marriage. It appears that they are being excluded when it would have been easy to make some concessions for them.

    Great that there is a proposal to allow spouse’s to change their mind when an IGRC has been issued to the trans spouse (as hitherto the spouse wished to separate). This will keep some families together that would have otherwise split.

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