WALES’ largest family law firm is celebrating equal marriage becoming a Welsh legal reality.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, extending the legal form of marriage to same-sex couples, is due to become law after clearing its final hurdle in the House of Lords yesterday.

Cardiff-based Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice, who have long argued in favour of marriage equality in the UK, added their support to the passing of the Bill.

Director Sarah Wyburn, who had previously called the Bill’s passage through the House of Commons as “a good step in the right direction”, hailed the move as a historic breakthrough.

“This is a historic day for campaigners,” she said.  “For too long, committed same-sex couples have had to settle for a second-class definition of marriage if they wanted to form a legally binding relationship.

“Now, we will very shortly see the legal form of marriage extended to same-sex couples, as well as permitting religious denominations to celebrate such marriages should they wish.”

Sarah explained that up until now, a same sex couple wanting to spend the rest of their lives together was only able to “marry” in the form of a civil partnership, an arrangement which could never legally be considered the same thing as a marriage, despite sharing almost all the same legal features.

“This is long overdue, and will be of great importance to a lot of our clients,” she said.

“As Wales’ largest specialist family law firm, we have watched the progress of the Bill with great interest.  There was a lot of comment about how the Bill might be blocked in the House of Lords this summer, and so we are delighted to see it sail through so smoothly.

“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, because this is something we believe in,” she said.

The UK will now become the fifteenth country to legalise gay marriage, following in the footsteps of France, where the first same-sex wedding ceremony was celebrated in May. At that time, Sarah called the proposed UK legislation an important step towards Britain “catching up” with the rest of the world on marriage equality.

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.

Published: 16/07/13