Tag: Gay Marriage

Is It Worth Getting Married These Days?

Marriage is being brought into question more than ever these days and for some couples, simply living together is preferable. Some people view marriage as a huge expense just for a piece if paper. They me even live together for decades and have children in the process. So, is entering into a marriage or civil partnership worth it?  

The short answer from a legal perspective is yes if you want to protect areas such as inheritance and save on huge tax bills either for those left behind when you die or a partner die. While this is not an article designed to promote marriage, indeed for some couples it can be preferable not to pass on their assets to a partner when they die, let’s highlight how being married can save a number of legal headaches.  

Perhaps the biggest consideration for mature unmarried couples is the will. If your partner dies you won’t inherit anything and the best you can hope for is some provision towards living costs. If you had children together inheritance will pass to them. If there are no children then your partners family members will be next in line to inherit as part of Intestacy Rules.  

The next potential issue is inheritance tax. Couples who marry will and leave everything to their spouse will have ensured no inheritance tax is due on the estate. The opposite is true for unmarried couples where IHT can take away a significant chunk of the inheritance.  

These potential outcomes are avoided if a couple decides to marry and there have been some high-profile cases where a person has decided to marry just before death for this very reason.

Vatican Softens On Divorce But Not Gay Marriage

There are signs that the Catholic Church is beginning to soften its stance on a range of issues including divorce but there remains a strong conservative undercurrent.

While divorce continues to be something that is far from welcomed by the Catholic church, it should come as some relief that the church will look into divorcees receiving communion even if they will do so on a case by case basis.

Even this move was passed by just a single vote as Pope Francis set about turning the Catholic church into what he describes as a “field hospital for wounded souls.”
The issue of gay marriage, however, remains a contentious one with bishops strongly opposed to gay marriage. A total of 270 Catholic bishops gathered for debates which took 90 hours to complete with 400 speeches related to the pastoral care of Catholic families.

The issue of divorce for Catholic couples has historically been a barrier to unhappy couples divorcing from partners who may have been abusive. Remaining trapped in those marriages by their religion is not something that progressive members of the church see as an option.

Allowing people to take communion after going through a divorce is seen as a highly significant step in removing barriers to participation in services. Millions of people who may have felt excluded following a divorce which not have been wholly their fault will now be looking forward to the possibility of having a full role in the life of their church.

Gay couples on the other hand will probably have longer to wait for any sign of acceptance in the Catholic church.

Channel Islands Drop Same Sex Adoption Restrictions

Both Jersey and Guernsey have decided to drop laws that prevented same sex couples from adopting children.

Guernsey decided that its adoption law, which was introduced in the mid- 1960s to prevent same sex couples from adopting children was now inappropriate. The recent change in the law will see same sex couples being free to adopt children for the first time in Guernsey and Jersey.

The change in the law allowing same sex couples to adopt will be viewed as a major step forward and put an end to discrimination as well as bring the Channel Islands into line with the UK and most other European countries.

The laws over same sex adoption while liberal in most countries are still under debate or ambiguous in some countries particularly in many Eastern European countries and Italy.
In Jersey, children aged 14 will be able to veto adoption orders and the law change also means that unmarried same sex couples can now jointly adopt a child even if a child aged 14 or over needs to be in agreement for the adoption to commence.

As reported on the BBC website Andrew Green, Health and Social Services Minister of Jersey said, “It makes Jersey’s law fit for purpose and compliant with our own discrimination laws. At the heart of the legislation is the welfare of the child and the right to a loving and secure home.”

US Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage is a legal right across the United States

In a 5-4 majority decision, the Supreme Court made it legal for same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states. Prior to this decision, only 37 states permitted same-sex marriage. Following this decision, the 14 states with bans on same-sex marriage will no longer be able to enforce them. It has been reported that same-sex couples in the affected states including Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and Texas rushed to get married on Friday 26th June.

President Barack Obama has said the ruling was a ‘victory for America’ and tweeted that day stating ‘Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins’.

Justice Anthony Kennedy in delivering his opinion for the majority stated that the right to marry was ‘based on history, tradition and other constitutional liberties inherent in this intimate bond’. Although many were delighted, the Supreme Court decision has also angered many opponents of gay marriage.

The case considered by the Supreme Court concerned Mr Obergefell, who lived in Ohio, and was not recognised as the legal widower of his late husband. In recent years, a number of legal rulings and a dramatic shift in public opinion has expanded gay marriage in the United States and this decision reinforces this shift in opinion.

The Times reports on Gay marriage exemption for churches

According to a report in The Times, Churches will be able to opt out of the up coming gay marriage legislation.

The legislation, due for publication next year, will apparently include an explicit exemption for churches allowing them to refuse to host gay marriage ceremonies should they choose to.

This has been introduced in response to concerns that churches were probably set to lose any legal action launched, should they refuse.