Jordans have just published Same Sex Marriage and Civil Partnership: the new law (May 2014)

The book has been written by Martin Downs in collaboration with Mark Harper and Katharine Landells who are Partners at Withers and barristers Gerald Wilson (a renowned property and trusts expert) and S Chelvan (an immigration and asylum specialist who gave the Stonewall Lecture in 2013).

The Same Sex Marriage Act 2013 came into force in March 2014 with the recognition of overseas same sex marriages and, from 29 March 2014 the registration of same sex marriages for new couples.

The government proposals for the conversion of civil partnership to marriage are awaited as is the result of the review into the future of civil partnership and as to the continuing discrimination as to survivor pension benefits.

In Scotland, the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 received Royal Assent on 12 March 2014 and it is anticipated that the first same sex marriages will take place there before the end of the year.

A referendum on amending the constitution of the Republic of Ireland to allow same sex marriage is planned for early 2015.

In April 2014, the Northern Ireland Assembly voted (for the third time) by 51 votes to 43 to reject the extension of same sex marriage to the six counties.

Amnesty International has now concluded that a challenge to the status quo in Northern Ireland is now inevitable

Martin Downs said:

“This Act was passed after the largest consultation exercise ever undertaken by a government in London and has far-reaching implications for equality and human rights law as well as that concerned with family, children, trusts probate and immigration and asylum. The understandable difficulties the government have faced in devising a scheme to allow for the conversion of civil partnerships to same sex marriage is testament to the complexity of all aspects of this area of law.”

Martin’s contribution to the book centred on the history of LGBT law reform, the implications for civil partnership, a comparative law assessment of same sex marriage as well as an analysis of its implications in the fields of Human Rights, Equality, Employment and Children’s law.