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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Same-sex Marriage

The Government has recently published its Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which will:

  • enable same-sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies;
  • ensure those religious organisations that wish to do so can opt in to conduct marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples; and
  • protect those religious organisations that do not wish to marry same-sex couples from successful legal challenge.

The Bill protects and promotes religious freedom through a ‘quadruple lock’, which:

  • Makes clear that a religious marriage ceremony of a same-sex couple will only be possible if:
    • the governing body of the religious organisation has opted in by giving explicit consent to same-sex marriages;
    • the individual minister is willing to conduct the marriage; and
    • if it takes place in a place of worship, those premises have been registered for marriages of same-sex couples.
  • States explicitly that no religious organisation can be compelled to opt in to marry same-sex couples or to permit this to happen on their premises; and no religious organisation or minister can be compelled to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies.
  • Amends the Equality Act 2010 to make clear that it is not unlawful discrimination for a religious organisation or individual minister to refuse to marry a same-sex couple.
  • Ensures that the common law legal duty on the clergy of the Church of England and the Church in Wales to marry parishioners will not extend to same-sex couples.  It also protects the Church of England’s Canon law which says that marriage is the union of one man with one woman, so that it does not in conflict with civil law.

Equal marriage plans unveiled

Posted by on in Civil Partnerships

The Government has set out its plans to allow same-sex couples in England and Wales to marry.

Minister for Women and Equalities, Maria Miller, said:

“Marriage is one of the most important institutions we have in this country. It binds us together, brings long-term commitment and stability, and makes society stronger. Our proposals mean that marriage would be available to everyone. 

“I am absolutely clear that no religious organisation will ever be forced to conduct marriages for same-sex couples, and I would not bring in a bill which allowed that. European law already puts religious freedom beyond doubt, and we will go even further by bringing in an additional ‘quadruple legal lock’. But, it is also a key aspect of religious freedom that those bodies who want to opt-in should be able to do so.”

The Government has also underlined the following additional measures:

  • introducing a process that will allow civil partnerships (now numbering some 50,000) to be converted into a civil marriage; and
  • changing the law so that individuals can legally change their gender while remaining married - putting an end to the distressing process of having to end a marriage or civil partnership before a full gender recognition certificate can be issued.

A recent poll carried out by ComRes, on behalf of the Coalition for Marriage, has found that 56% of MPs polled across all parties believe that the Government's proposal to legalise same-sex marriage will be implemented, reports the Telegraph. The survey also found that only 41% of Conservative MPs polled believe the proposals will succeed.

The Government launched a consultation in March which proposed to remove the ban on same-sex couples having a civil marriage. The consultation covers civil marriage only i.e. only civil marriage ceremonies in a register office or other approved premises (like a hotel), and does not propose any changes to religious marriage, which would continue to only be legally possible between a man and a woman.

The Government's consultation closes on 14th June 2012.

The government has launched a consultation on how to lift the ban on same-sex couples marrying in a civil ceremony.

Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity, has published a draft parliamentary bill for extending the legal form of marriage to gay people. The Bill outlines the legislative steps necessary to give effect to a policy now supported by the main political party leaders.