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IB imageSnapshots of law, gender and sexuality news from the past couple of weeks

House of Commons votes in favour of Same-Sex Marriage Bill 

Jesse Bachir

On the 5th February, the House of Commons voted in favour of passing the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill, with David Cameron’s support.  The Bill passed in the Commons with 400 votes for to 175 against. However, there are still some inequalities that will need to be dealt with; inequalities that are being carried over from same-sex civil partnerships.

When civil partnerships came into effect, there was no definition of sex between members of the same sex. Now, when the same-sex marriage bill is about to be passed, this problem has still not been addressed by the government. Currently, legally, sexual intercourse is defined as penile-vaginal penetration – which obviously only defines sexual intercourse in relation to opposite-sex sexual intercourse. Because same sex couples were unable to meet this definition, when civil partnerships came into effect, non-consummation was not grounds for dissolving the partnership. This same problem is being carried over into the same-sex marriage bill, as the government has not taken the time to redefine or rethink the definitions of sexual intercourse or consummation.

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