UK: Gay couples denied access to heterosexual divorce laws
Gay partners in England and Wales who have an affair with someone of the same sex will not be able to use adultery laws as grounds for divorce, lawyers have warned.
According to the Telegraph, under the government’s current proposals for equal marriage, gay spouses will also be unable to annul their marriages on the basis of non-consummation.
However, heterosexual couples in marriages will still be able to use adultery and non-consummation as grounds for divorce.
The legal definition of adultery involves sex between a man and a woman.
Human rights campaigners have already begun discussions on how to challenge these laws.
Jonathan West, the head of family and marriage law at Prolegal, said:
“In my view it is discriminatory. The test for discrimination is whether one section of society is treated differently from another. They are being treated differently.
“If you had a heterosexual couple saying, ‘why am I being divorced on the basis of adultery when if I was gay that wouldn’t happen?’ I think that would be a fantastic test case”.
In relation to a potential challenge of the law, Mr West added: “Whether it is successful at the moment I would currently doubt but these things happen in small steps.”