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Chris Barton's Sketch
Date:3 MAY 2010

Chris Barton To my all-time favourite of the Conference Season, Staffordshire University Law School's annual Family Law Seminar. By-the-by, it's good to see judges being prepared to join in the debates on even terms at these gigs: time was when they started off being matey enough but soon pulled rank when anyone argued the toss with them.

We move ever closer to legal symmetry as between same and different-sex couples.  Section 8 of the Equality Act 2010 (in force) joins the civilly-partnered with the marrieds in enjoying 'protected characteristic' status, thereby bringing the former within the anti-discrimination laws. Not too many differences remain, other than civil partners not having the non-consummation 'ground' for annulment  nor the adultery  'ground' for dissolution. In fact, s 202 of the 2010 Act advantages same-sex couples in allowing them, and only them, to use, where permitted, 'religious premises' as 'approved premises' for their ceremony. This goes some way towards redressing the advantage enjoyed by different-sex couples who may, of course,  not only 'marry' but may choose to do so via a religious 'wedding' ceremony.

A grave issue. The Sketch has been inundated with accusations of dishonesty concerning its pictorial manifestation which - admittedly - appears to show a - slightly - younger person. However, all future correspondence on the matter should be directed to Mrs Sketch.

Professor Chris Barton is a retired Family Law Teacher, Vice-President of the Family Mediators Association and a regular contributor to Family Law. Click here to follow Chris Barton on Twitter

The views expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily those of Family Law or Jordan Publishing and should not be considered as legal advice.

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