Gay Marriages and Civil Partnerships on the Move

The good news is that finally the United Kingdom government have passed the bill allowing same sex “marriages”. This should be in force during the coming year of 2014. And those that are in civil partnerships will be able to have their partnership “converted” to a marriage. This will make matters a whole lot easier in Spain.

While there are now 22 countries and territories around the world that give legal recognition to same-sex marriages and “Civil Partnerships” or “Civil Unions”, and the number is growing each year, there is as yet no international convention for reciprocal recognition of these legal relationships. Each country or territory has to pass its own legislation to grant recognition to foreign same-sex legal relationships, and this can lead to complex and undesirable consequences in an age of increased international mobility.

Britain and Spain have agreed to mutually recognize Spanish same-sex marriages and British Civil Partnerships.

In Britain, Schedule 20 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 lists Spain as a country from where a same-sex marriage is to be recognized as equivalent to a British Civil Partnership. If a same-sex couple married in Spain move to Britain they have the right to deposit a copy of their Spanish Marriage Certificate with an official translation into English with the British General Registry office, although this is not compulsory and will not affect their rights to be treated as Civil Partners in Britain.

Britain has strict and complex immigration rules and If either or both of the parties to a Spanish same-sex marriage originate from countries outside the European Union they should take specialist legal advice before deciding to move to Britain.

In Spain, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed on 16th November 2007 in a “Nota Verbal” addressed to the British government that a British Civil Partnership is to be recognized for all legal purposes as equivalent to a Spanish same-sex marriage. Yet in practice this has proved difficult to obtain and there is no provision for a British Civil Partnership to be registered with the “Registro Civil” maintained by the Ministry of Justice in Spain

Again, immigration rules into Spain are strict and complex and if either or both of the parties to a British Civil Partnership originate from countries outside the European Union they should take specialist advice before moving to Spain.