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Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

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mushroom25 | 18:08 Sun 27th Jan 2013 | News
19 Answers
The government have now published their proposals for enshrining same-sex marriage, and they can be read here.
Most newspapers have reported this, although each has chosen to lead with a particular angle on the story - a typical example is in the telegraph, who have chosen the religious opposition.

All of them have, though, picked up on the surprise inclusion relating to divorce, in which "Only conduct between the respondent and a person of the opposite sex may constitute adultery......”.

This is said to arise from legal disagreements as to what constitutes adultery in same-sex relationships. The upshot is that this surprise clause would introduce inequality in the divorce courts. This could lead to the abolition of the concept of adultery.

So, is it important that entrants into a marriage undertake to remain faithful, and thus more legal thought needs to be applied to the matter? Or is adultery an outdated concept which it would be entirely right to sweep away for everybody?


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TBH, I thought all divorces were due to Irretrievable Breakdown, I didn't know adultery still existed as a reason for divorce.
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"irreconcilable differences" is not a concept known under English law. Section 1(1) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 provides that the only ground for divorce in England and Wales is irretrievable breakdown of marriage.

Section 1(2) of the Act provides that in order to prove this to the court's satisfaction, it is necessary to establish one or more of five sets of facts; these are:

• Adultery and intolerability;
• Unreasonable behaviour;
• Desertion of the petitioner by the respondent for at least two years;
• Separation of the parties for a period of at least two years where the respondent to the divorce proceedings consents to the pronouncement of a decree;
• Five years' separation where the respondent's consent is not required.
People love their dogs but it doesn't mean they should get hitched. Mary would be turning in her grave.

Are you equating the love that you may have for a dog with two people who want to make a lifelong commitment to each other through marriage?

Do you think that there's validity in the argument that there are different forms of love, such as the love you feel for your partner, the love you feel for your children, favourite album, film, pet etc - and the celebration of each form of love should be different and appropriate?

By the way - who's Mary???
Mary called wife of Jesus!
Ah, I see, thanks for clarifying mushroom.

Pdq, what does that mean?
surely shagging someone else could be cited as "unreasonable behaviour" if you can't use "adultery"

Wow...that was a pretty oblique reference!!!

I think that the concept of adultery will be updated. This is an interesting story from Canada:

And we're in the same situation in the UK. If a married man has an affair with another bloke, his wife cannot divorce him for adultery, because the legal definition only covers a sexual relationship with a person of the opposite sex.

It seems the problem the government advisors have is what constitutes 'sex' in a same-sex relationship.

I'm surprised they found that difficult to define.
pdq, I thought you meant Mary Whitehouse.

SP, //And we're in the same situation in the UK. If a married man has an affair with another bloke, his wife cannot divorce him for adultery, because the legal definition only covers a sexual relationship with a person of the opposite sex.//

I didn’t know that. It’s potty.
I'm glad you said that Naomi, that's who I thought he was talking about.
Just to add, if they can change the law to allow same sex marriage, it's not rocket science to change the law regarding adultery.
Rocky, I can't imagine why he was talking about Mary Magdalene!
Me neither ;)

pdq, perhaps you can explain.
I found pdq's answer a little opaque too - really did think the reference was to Mary Whitehouse,and it still did not really make sense.

With respect to the bill and its wording regarding divorces - The purpose of the bill is to recognise in law same-sex marriage - to offer an equality in law to the partners in a marriage, regardless of their gender. To then legally enshrine differences in aspects of that law based around the gender of the couple seems to be asking for all sorts of trouble and legal challenges down the road- and is, ultimately, unnecessarily divisive.

I do not think adultery is an outmoded concept as yet. Whether it should remain a cause for divorce is another issue.
I too think this creates unnecessary complications. I can’t see that it would be difficult to re-define the law to keep it simple.

If you dabble elsewhere …..
'Gov cant define sex in same sex' - as I see it, its procreation between heterosexual couples and recreation between same sex
that is crazy isn't it, if your husband goes off and has an affair, for want of a better word with another bloke, you can't cite that as a reason for divorce, surely that needs changing sooner than later.

I assume that would fall under 'unreasonable behaviour', but it should fall under adultery.

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