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Government publishes same-sex marriage bill for England and Wales

LONDON -- The government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill for England and Wales has officially been published.

A full debate (second reading of the bill) by MPs and a vote on the proposals will take place on Feb. 5.

Its official remit is to “Make provision for the marriage of same-sex couples in England and Wales, about gender change by married persons and civil partners, about consular functions in relation to marriage, for the marriage of armed forces personnel overseas, and for connected purposes.”

The bill contains specific measures to deal with the unique legal position of the Church of England and the Church in Wales. Unlike any other religious body in this country, their clergy have a specific legal duty to marry parishioners.

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