The promised Government consultation, which outlines plans to enable same-sex couples to have a civil marriage ceremony, was launched on Thursday 15 March. A full copy of the consultation document can be accessed on the Home Office website – http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/equal-civil-marriage.
The Government recognises that there are a wide range of views on this issue and they want to hear from all perspectives. Changing Attitude will be submitting a formal response in due course and invites supporters to submit your views by completing the simple, online survey available at – http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/equal-civil-marriage
The key proposals of the consultation are:
- to enable same-sex couples to have a civil marriage i.e. only civil ceremonies in a register office or approved premises (like a hotel)
- to make no changes to religious marriages. This will continue to only be legally possible between a man and a woman
- to retain civil partnerships for same-sex couples and allow couples already in a civil partnership to convert this into a marriage
- civil partnership registrations on religious premises will continue as is currently possible i.e. on a voluntary basis for faith groups and with no religious content
- individuals will, for the first time, be able legally to change their gender without having to end their marriage
Current legislation allows same-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership, but not civil marriage.