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Gay Brits getting
ready for civil unions

Gay Brits getting
ready for civil unions

Hundreds of same-sex British couples are expected to register for civil unions.

Gay men and lesbians in the United Kingdom are gearing up for December 5--the day that same-sex couples above the age of 16 can enter into a civil partnership. And, according to USA Today, hundreds are expected to register--including singer Elton John, 58, and his longtime partner, David Furnish, 43, a Canadian filmmaker. In an interview published Thursday, John told a gay magazine that he plans to wed Furnish on December 21. European countries that now recognize either civil unions or legal marriage include Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, France, and Belgium. In the United States, only Massachusetts allows same-sex marriage. Vermont and Connecticut allow civil unions. The British public has generally supported the new law, which gives same-sex couples in civil partnerships inheritance, pension, and bereavement rights as well as next-of-kin standing. "A lot of people in the U.K. wish to formalize their relationships. It's about time it happened," said Paul Roseby, 39, a broadcaster. He and partner James Tod plan a partnership ceremony in two years. Still, gay rights groups are angry that Britain does not allow its civil unions to be called marriages. Andy Forrest--spokesman for the group Stonewall--told the newspaper that it would have been nearly impossible to get same-sex marriage through Parliament. "We thought there was a sense of urgency in getting the legislation through. What it's called can be argued about later," he said. There are notable differences between the civil unions and marriage: Prenuptial agreements are called preregistration agreements; divorce is called dissolution; and neither party can cite adultery as a reason for the split-up. (Advocate.com)

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