The Home Office are holding a public consultation on the Govt''s proposals on same-sex marriage. Under current legislation a marriage can only be between a couple of the opposite-sex i.e. a man and a woman. A marriage can be conducted on either religious premises through religious ceremony, or on secular (non-religious) premises through a civil ceremony.
A civil partnership can only be between a same-sex couple i.e. either a man and a man or a woman and a woman, and can only be conducted through a civil ceremony. A civil partnership can take place on secular premises but can also be held on religious premises, if the religious organisation in question has allowed this to happen (but the ceremony has to remain a civil one). In all cases a civil partnership registration must be secular (non-religious).
The government proposes to do the following:
enable same-sex couples to get married through civil ceremonies
retain the option of civil partnerships for same-sex couples, including the ability to have a civil partnership registration on religious premises (on a voluntary basis and retaining the ban on any religious elements forming part of the registration)
allow transsexual people to change their legal gender without having to legally end their existing marriage or civil partnership
allow couples currently in a civil partnership the option of ''converting'' their existing civil partnership into a civil marriage
make no changes to how religious marriages are solemnized
This consultation is about how we best remove the ban on same-sex couples having a civil marriage, not on whether this should or should not happen. However, we are aware that there are a number of disparate views on this subject and would like to understand the views of all of those with an interest in this issue.
You can read the background to this issue in the full consultation document - click here
to access the consultation document.
The Impact Assessment can be accessed by clicking here
I would be interested in your views, and if Wikivorce should submit a response.