FCO confirms Spanish recognition of UK partnerships

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The British government has published information on an embassy website confirming the new agreement between the UK and Spain regarding recognition of UK civil partnerships.

Gay couple Paul and Martin Ward signed the civil partnership register in Devon on Valentine’s Day this year, having been advised that it would be recognised in Spain, where Paul lives.

When they found out this was not the case, they began a campaign to receive recognition for their partnership, supported by MEPs Glenys Kinnock and Michael Cashman and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

In a statement to PinkNews.co.uk, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said:

“The issue of Spanish recognition of UK civil partnerships affects many British nationals. Resolving it has been a priority for our diplomats in Spain.

“The case of the Wards gave us a concrete example to take up with the Spanish authorities. We have sought throughout to work in partnership with the Wards to obtain clarification from the Spanish authorities on the status of UK civil partnerships.

“We are pleased that, after only four months of high level engagement with the Spanish government, we have achieved a satisfactory outcome for those British nationals in Spain affected by this issue.”

A page on the website of the British Embassy in Madrid states:

“The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the British Embassy in Madrid in a Note Verbale dated 16th November 2007 that same-sex couples who have registered a civil partnership in the UK should be treated as spouses for legal purposes in Spain.

“Implementation of this guidance is a matter for the Spanish authorities. Copies of the Note Verbale can be made available to Spanish authorities on request.

“British Nationals living in Spain are responsible for ensuring their own local administrative arrangements comply with Spanish law.

“UK civil partners should consult a lawyer/accountant over any concerns relating to next of kin/property/inheritance tax/tax issues.

“British nationals wishing to obtain information about marriage or civil partnership must also contact the relevant local authority to be sure of the requirements that they need in order for their ceremony to go ahead.”

For more information visit their website.