Earlier today a number of reports were been filed that the government of the United Kingdom has decided to press forward with a broader legal recognition for same-sex marriage.
As Thinking Anglican's has it:
"[…]the UK government will begin a formal consultation on equal civil marriage for same-sex couples with a view to making the necessary legislative changes before the next general election."
More here along with links to a many of the articles reporting on the decision.
According the Telegraph:
Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat equalities minister, signalled the end of the centuries-old legal definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
In a speech to the Lib Dem conference today, Miss Featherstone will hail Britain as “a world leader for gay rights” and outline a three-month consultation over same-sex marriage to begin next March. This means that the proposals, which are likely to prove controversial among church groups, could be written into law in 2013.
Civil partnerships were introduced in 2005 to give people in same-sex relationships legal rights equal to those of married couples. The Government wants to end the distinction that civil marriages are only open to opposite sex couples and civil partnerships to same sex couples. For example, marriages are solemnised by a form of words, while civil partnerships only require a register to be signed.
This is happening in response to the earlier decision to attempt to put a clear dividing line between civil same-sex marriages and the traditional religious marriages performed in places like the Church of England. That division implied that same-sex marriages were being given inferior status according to critics. The proposed plan would still take care to respect the decisions of clergy who are not willing to perform the blessing at a same-gender marriage.