Hyde v Hyde and Woodmansee: 20 Mar 1866

A marriage contracted in a country where polygamy is lawful, between a man and a woman who profess a faith which allows polygamy, is not a, marriage as understood in Christendom; and although it is a valid marriage by the lex loci, and at the time when it was contracted both the man and the woman were single and competent to contract marriage, the English Matrimonial Court will not recognise it as a valid marriage in a suit instituted by one of the parties against the other for the purpose of enforcing matrimonial duties, or obtaining relief for a breach of matrimonial obligations.
Lord Penzance defined marriage: ‘I conceive that marriage, as understood in Christendom, may for this purpose be defined as the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others.’

Lord Penzance
[1886] LR1 P and D 130, [1866] UKLawRpPro 29
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedChief Adjudication Officer v Bath CA 28-Oct-1999
The claimant and her husband had been married at a Sikh temple, and lived together for many years before his death. The temple had not been accredited for marriages, and the Secretary of State resisted payment of benefits to the claimant as a widow, . .
AppliedCorbett v Corbett (otherwise Ashley) FD 1-Feb-1970
There had been a purported marriage in 1963 between a man and a male to female trans-sexual.
Held: Because marriage is essentially a union between a man and a woman, the relationship depended on sex, and not on gender. The law should adopt the . .
AppliedBellinger v Bellinger HL 10-Apr-2003
Transgender Male to Female not to marry as Female
The parties had gone through a form of marriage, but Mrs B had previously undergone gender re-assignment surgery. Section 11(c) of the 1973 Act required a marriage to be between a male and a female. It was argued that the section was incompatible . .
CitedWilkinson v Kitzinger and others FD 31-Jul-2006
The parties had gone through a ceremony of marriage in Columbia, being both women. After the relationship failed, the claimant sought a declaration that the witholding of the recognition of same-sex marriages recoginised in a foreign jurisdiction . .
CitedBellinger v Bellinger CA 17-Jul-2001
Transgender Male may not marry as Female
Despite gender re-assignment, a person born and registered a male, remained biologically a male, and so was not a woman for the purposes of the law of marriage. The birth registration in this case had been correct. The words ‘male and female’ in the . .
CitedJohns and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Derby City Council and Another Admn 28-Feb-2011
The claimants had acted as foster carers for several years, but challenged a potential decision to discontinue that when, as committed Christians, they refused to sign to agree to treat without differentiation any child brought to them who might be . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 13 January 2022; Ref: scu.231667