It was reported in the press recently that John Barrowman married his civil partner Scott Gill on 3rd July in California. This was following a decision to overturn the Defence of Marriage Act in the State of California.
But why did John feel the need to get married as he was already in a civil partnership with Scott since 2006? Partly because it was a celebration of the overturning of the Defence of Marriage Act and partly because although civil partnerships are the same-sex equivalent of marriage they are perhaps more considered a form of legal contract rather than a bond between two people which many consider marriage to be.
Entering into a civil partnership means having the same rights as a married couple regarding inheritance, pension rights, life assurance, child maintenance, next of kin and immigration rights.
Civil Partnership permits the same rights regarding marriage but it seems that the most important form of contract to a lot of same-sex couples is the acknowledgement of being treated the same as opposite sex couples and thus being able to get married.
Last month due to the previous lobbying of politicians in the House of Commons, the Government passed the law in England and Wales allowing same sex couples to marry. The law has not come into force yet but when it does it could be good news for John and Scott because it may mean their marriage in California will be recognised in England and Wales.
Under the new law, religious institutions have the option to perform gay marriage ceremonies. However, for the time being at least, the Church of England has chosen not to do so.