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UK embassies ignore local law and 'export' same-sex marriage abroad

Fri 14 Jul 2017
By Eno Adeogun

More than 200 same-sex weddings took place in British embassies and consulates in countries the ceremonies are not legal, it has emerged.

The bypassing of local law is in line with former Prime Minister David Cameron's 2013 pledge to "export" same-sex marriage abroad.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has opened the doors of its missions in countries where marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman. Under British law, same-sex couples are allowed to get married - as long as one of the applicants is a UK citizen.

The FCO has released data which reveals there have been 202 same-sex marriages and six civil partnerships between 1st July 2016 and 6th July 2017.

The ministerial department which promotes the United Kingdom's interests overseas has allowed its buildings in Australia, Cambodia, China, Cyprus, Germany, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, the Philippines, Serbia, Venezuela and Vietnam to be used for the ceremonies.

Earlier this year, the British High Commissioner to Australia denied a redefinition of marriage was being subtly pushed on citizens.

Menna Rawlings told the BBC that wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples held at British consulates are simply a "celebration of our own values".

However, Lyle Shelton, Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, said Australia should be allowed to make up its own mind.

Shelton added: "Just because Britain has made a decision, doesn't mean Australia has to follow suit."

After the same-sex marriage Bill was passed in Britain in 2013, the Government's foreign policy was also changed to allow for same-sex weddings to take place at consulates and embassies.

Wikimedia Commons


Last year, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson gave the go-ahead for foreign embassies to fly LGBT flags.

Previously only the flags of the United Kingdom, its overseas territories and the EU flag were permitted to be displayed.

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