WALES’ largest family law firm has given its backing to gay marriage, following a historic vote in Parliament.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill – which proposes extending the legal form of marriage to same-sex couples – passed a tense vote in the House of Commons last week, resulting in the Bill going through by 366 votes to 161.
Cardiff-based Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice today applauded the passing of the Bill, with Director Sarah Wyburn calling the vote “a good step in the right direction.”
“The Bill has been very hotly debated and taken up a lot of air time and press coverage, not to mention time spent discussing it in Parliament, so for things to finally get to this stage is a major development“, said Sarah.
She explained that at present, a same sex couple is only able to enter into a civil partnership, which – while it shares most of the legal features of a marriage – remains completely distinct in legal terms.
“As things currently stand, a civil partnership is the only avenue for committed same-sex couples to form a legally binding relationship,” she said.
“The Bill will extend the legal form of marriage to same-sex couples, as well as permitting religious denominations to celebrate such marriages should they wish.”
So far, fourteen countries have legalised gay marriage, with France’s first same-sex wedding ceremony due to take place in Montpellier on Wednesday. Sarah said that the proposed UK legislation was an important step towards Britain “catching up” with the rest of the world on marriage equality.
The firm now hopes that the Bill will clear the House of Lords and become law, she added.
“As Wales’ largest specialist family law firm, we have watched the progress of the Bill with great interest and look forward to its being debated in the House of Lords in June. We work closely with Stonewall Cymru, who have been campaigning for a long time for the extension of the right to marry to same-sex couples, and we warmly welcome the introduction of the Bill.”
Founded in 1996, Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice is Wales’ first and largest specialist family law firm. Based in Cardiff, the firm was the first law firm in Wales to officially partner with Stonewall Cymru.