Marriage equality is to be legalized in England on March 13, but don’t expect the monarchy to go gay.
The Telegraph reports that there is a clause in the Same-Sex Marriage Act that states that giving gay and heterosexual couples the same legal effect does not apply to the rights of anyone “who marries, or who is married to, the King Regnant, to the title of Queen.”
The act also states that were a future Prince of Wales to marry a man, his husband could not be called Princess of Wales.
The same rule applies to English aristocracy. Dukes, earls and other male peers who marry other men cannot make their husbands duchess, countess or lady.
The new bill is filled with contradictions, which include an upgrade of the Treason Act of 1351. It will still be “high treason” to have sex with a king’s wife — but the same law will not be implemented if you have sex with the king’s husband.
“The route the government has chosen seems to be to admit that the equalness of same-sex marriage has its limits,” says Julian Lipson, head of the family law practice at Withers LLP. “They presumably don’t want to end up with the situation of, for example, there being two duchesses or a man with the title of duchess. It seems that they are getting it all tidied up before these changes take effect to avoid uncertainties. While there is nobody who is currently likely to be affected by this clarification of the titles of Queen and Princess of Wales in real terms, if the question arises in 100 years time, the uncertainty will have been addressed as the ship will have sailed.”
England’s first same-sex marriage will take place on March 29.