The Civil Partnerships Act came into force in the UK on December 5 – after a period of notice, the first ceremonies will take place in England and Wales on December 21, and in Scotland on December 20. (The Guardian). This is not a marriage, but it contains most of the rights associated with marriage. Another Guardian article:
bq. Gay couples who register as civil partners will take on the obligation to support each other financially, even after the relationship ends. To split, they will have to go through a “divorce” process, with the courts dividing up the assets regardless of ownership if they fail to reach a settlement. They will be exempt from inheritance tax when the first partner dies, and will have the same pension rights as married couples.