Marriage & civil partnership
Marriage and civil partnership refers to people who have entered into a marriage or a civil partnership.
Department for Culture, Media and Sport (8 February 2013)
Have your say on equal marriage
Submit your views to the Public Bill Committee.
The Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill has received its Second Reading and the parliamentary process now moves into the Commons Committee stage.
You can now submit written evidence to the Public Bill Committee which will examine the Bill in detail.
Learn about what the Bill really means via our mythbuster and short guide (PDF 91kb).
Have your say
You can submit your views about the Bill in writing to the Committee. Comments must be received before 12 March 2013 to be considered.
Source of information
Department for Culture, Media and Sport (25 January 2013)
Equal Marriage a step closer as legislation published
Government commitment to open up marriage to same-sex couples makes important progress.
A Government commitment to open up marriage to same-sex couples took an important step forward today with the publication of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill.
The Bill 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
- protect those religious organisations that do not wish to marry same-sex couples from successful legal challenge
View the full details
Also, view the press release
Stonewall urges equal marriage supporters to contact MPs today - as the Bill is due to be debated on 5 February 2013 - view news item, 25 January 2013
Stonewall Scotland (12 December 2012)
Welcomes the publication of the draft Equal Marriage Bill
Today the Scottish Government published the draft Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill. Colin Macfarlane, Director of Stonewall Scotland, reacted by saying:
‘We are delighted that the Scottish Government has now published its draft bill on equal marriage. The very fact that such a bill is now being considered is proof that the vast majority of Scots support moves to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are afforded the same rights as everyone else. We look forward to examining the details of the bill and we will work with the Scottish Government and all our MSPs to ensure that this truly delivers equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Scots’.
We encourage all of our supporters to look at the bill and respond to the consultation.
Source of information
Department for Culture, Media and Sport (11 December 2012)
Government sets out plan for equal marriage - Same-sex couples in England and Wales will be allowed to marry
Minister for Women and Equalities Maria Miller announced today that legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies will be brought forward next year.
The historic move will also contain protections for religious organisations that do not want to conduct same-sex marriages through a ‘quadruple lock’ of measures in domestic legislation, but will also allow them to ‘opt in’ to carry out same-sex marriages if they choose.
Equality for all
“Marriage is one of the most important institutions we have in this country,” said Mrs Miller.
“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 feel strongly that, if a couple wish to show their love and commitment to each other, the State should not stand in their way.”
Mrs Miller also made 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.”...........
View the full news item
Also, view comments from Stonewall on the news AND Stonewall Cymru responds to the Westminster Government's announcement on equal marriage
Department for Culture, Media and Sport (5 December 2012)
More overseas same-sex partnerships recognised in UK law
Seventy-five foreign partnerships will be treated as equivalent to UK civil partnerships.
From 31 January 2013, the number of overseas same-sex relationships that are specified in legislation so that they will be treated as civil partnerships in the UK will be extended.
Since the Civil Partnership Act 2004 there has been a big increase in the number of same-sex relationships recognised in many parts of the world.
Currently Schedule 20 to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 lists only 25 overseas same-sex relationships which are treated as UK civil partnerships. To bring this up to date, a further 50 will now be added, bringing the total to 75. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Overseas Relationships) Order 2012 was laid before Parliament today.........
View the full news item
Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to directly or indirectly discriminate or harass a person because they are married or in a civil partnership. Marriage and civil partnership though is not a protected characteristic in relation to services and public functions, premises, education and associations. This means it is only a protected characteristic in the context of work.
Currently in the UK, a marriage is only available to an opposite-sex couple, and a civil partnership is only available to a same-sex couple. The two institutions are legally separate, although similar in many ways. A civil partnership provides most of the rights of a marriage. This means that anything that is available to a married couple, such as special rates, privileges or benefits, must also be available to a couple in a civil partnership.
Although it is not explicitly laid out in the Equality Act 2010, if a couple in a civil partnership were to be treated less favourably than a couple in a marriage outside of work, it is likely that it would be discrimination based on sexual orientation.
In situations where a person is asked to disclose their marital or civil partnership status, it is very important, and often a legal requirement, for that information to be kept private. Revealing or implying that a person is in a civil partnership may expose them to discrimination or prejudice based on sexual orientation. For this reason, it is best practice to put the options of marriage and civil partnership together in any forms.
For further information on the Equality Act 2010, visit the Legislation page of this Website.
Resources 2012 onwards:
Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill – A Short Guide. Department for Culture, Media and Sport, January 2013 (2 pages)
Following a 2012 consultation, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill will allow same-sex couples to marry, either in a civil ceremony (in a register office or on approved premises, such as hotels) or, where the religious organisation’s governing body chooses to opt in, on religious premises or with a religious ceremony.
The Government has been clear that it would not introduce legislation unless there was absolute protection for religious belief, recognising and respecting the very important role that faith plays in society. This Bill will provide protection for any religious organisation, or individual minister of religion that chooses not to conduct marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples.
Download a copy
The facts about equal marriage.Fact sheet. Department for Culture, Media and Sport, January 2013 (3 pages)
In January 2013, the Government introduced the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill into Parliament to make the legislative changes necessary to enable same-sex couples to marry. This fact sheet gives useful background and information.
Download a copy
Equal marriage: The Government’s response. Government Equalities Office, December 2012 (47 pages)
In March 2012 the Government launched a consultation which looked at how to enable same-sex couples to get married. The consultation ran for 13 weeks, closing on 14 June 2012. Just over 228,000 responses were sent to us, together with 19 petitions. This is the largest response ever received to a Government consultation, highlighting that this is an important issue to a great many people.
Our commitment, outlined in the consultation, was to consider how to enable same-sex couples to get married. While we recognise that there were many views opposing this proposal, the majority of responses to the consultation (not including petitions) supported opening up marriage to same-sex couples. We remain committed to changing the law to make civil marriage ceremonies available for same-sex couples.
Download a copy