Same-Sex Marriage Now Offered at UK Embassy in Estonia (1)
The British Embassy in Estonia, along with 22 other of the country's embassies around the world, are now offering same-sex marriage ceremonies to British nationals and their partners.
The service came into effect June 3, and will allow marriage between two British nationals or between a British national and the citizen of another country. Couples planning to marry in the civil ceremony will need to reside for seven days in Estonia and then give 14 days' notice before they will be able to marry.
The marriage will, for now, only be legally recognized in England and Wales. There is separate legislation in Scotland for gay marriage which has not yet been enacted. Northern Ireland will not offer marriage for same-sex couples.
The same-sex marriage will not be legally recognized in Estonia, and as of yet no one has signed up to have the ceremony performed in Estonia, a spokesperson for the British embassy in Estonia told news.err.ee.
The law impacts British embassies and consulates in locations around the world. Besides Estonia, neighboring Latvia will also offer marriage licenses, as will Russia. Other countries include Australia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Japan, Kosovo, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, San Marino, Serbia, and Vietnam.
The service is offered in countries where the host government confirmed that they had no objection to it and gave consent, the spokesperson said.
The embassy does not offer male-female marriage ceremonies, as they can be performed under local law in Estonia and the other 22 countries chosen.
The UK's Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 received royal approval in 2013. The first marriages of same sex couples in England and Wales were carried out on March 29.
“This is an important moment for our country, said British Prime Minister David Cameron when the law came into effect. "It says we are a country that will continue to honor its proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth.
"Put simply, in Britain it will no longer matter whether you are straight or gay – the state will recognize your relationship as equal."
The overseas rollout took until now to allow specific legislation and negotiations to take place with the nations consenting to the ceremonies, the spokesperson said.
Same-sex couples intending to marry in Estonia, provided that at least one partner is a British national, can contact the embassy by e-mailing TallinnConsular.Enquiries@fco.gov.uk. Details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/marriage-abroad/y/estonia.