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Gay Parliamentarian Questions U.K. Wait for Marriage Equality

By Daniel Reynolds

Chris Bryant, an openly gay member of Parliament, recently questioned the almost year-long waiting time for same-sex marriage in England and Wales, which received Royal Assent from Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday.

Bryant, a member of Parliament representing Rhondda, Wales since 2011, posed the inquiry through Twitter, asking: “Why is the govt taking nearly a year before same sex marriages can take place?”

The politician contrasted England’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, which is anticipated to take effect in summer 2014, to the political process in France, which had legalized same-sex marriage within a week of its promulgation by President Francois Hollande. He also questioned the even lengthier amount of time required to convert England’s civil unions into marriages.

To answer these questions, U.K. news site Gay Star News interviewed a representative from England’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the authority responsible for marriage’s enactment.

The Department responded by saying "work is already underway" to address the many legal and practical technicalities of marriage equality, and the transition of civil unions to marriage, including adjustments to registrations, court rules, IT systems, and other paperwork.

“Parliament will also need to scrutinize a number of statutory instruments setting out how the new arrangements will apply to other legislation;" the spokeswoman said. "On the detail of certain processes; and to ensure that marriages of same-sex couples in England and Wales are treated in Scotland and Northern Ireland as civil partnerships.”

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