Same-sex couples will now be able to marry officially in the British Antarctic Territory.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has announced plans to launch a consultation in order to review same-sex marriage legislation in the British Antarctic Territory (BAT).
Although same-sex marriage became legal in the BAT at the same time as the law was changed in England and Wales, the FCO say the aim of the review is to ensure the legislation is up to date and in line with UK law.
“These proposed changes relate to the Marriage and Registration Ordinances and look to bring them into line with domestic UK changes such as same sex marriage,” a description of the review explains.
“The new legislation will allow both for the purchase of licences to conduct marriages and the purchase of a marriage licence in order for a marriage to take place.”
The FCO will now undertake a two-month consultation period for these proposed changes.
The review will no doubt come as welcome news to the 250 people who live in the Antarctic every summer, as well the organisms native to the area – such as algae, bacteria, fungi, plants, protista, and certain animals, such as mites, nematodes, penguins, seals and tardigrades – many of which also exhibit signs of homosexuality.
However, some may argue that it’s time to bring regions a little close to home “in line with domestic UK changes such as same sex marriage”.
Same-sex marriage is legal in England, Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland – but continues to be blocked in Northern Ireland.
The Northern Irish Assembly backed equal marriage by a vote of 53 to 51 last year – but the DUP used peace process powers to override the democratic process and block equality for a fifth time.
The party has been accused of “abusing” petitions of concern, which were introduced to encourage power-sharing and cross-community support, to ‘veto’ marriage legislation despite clear majority support.
Earlier this month, gay Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson called on the country to finally join the rest of the UK and introduce equal marriage – but it remains to be seen if they will listen to her.
To find out more about the FCO’s ‘Review of British Antarctic Territory legislation’, click here.
And check out which members of the animal kingdom – including penguins – exhibit homosexuality below: