Equal Civil Marriage Consultation

The consultation sets out the government's proposals to enable same-sex couples to have a 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. No religious organisation will be forced to conduct same-sex religious marriages as a result of these proposals
  • 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.

What is the difference?
 Whilst civil partnerships were designed to provide equivalent rights and responsibilities to marriage there are some differences, for example:
  • Civil partnership and marriage are two entirely separate legal regimes with different pieces of legislation covering each of them. 
  • Civil partners cannot call themselves married for legal purposes and married couples cannot call themselves civil partners for legal purposes. This means that when making a declaration of marital status to an employer, public authority or other organisation, an individual who is either married or in a civil partnership will often be effectively declaring their sexual orientation at the same time;
  • Civil marriages are solemnized by saying a prescribed form of words whereas civil partnerships are formed simply by signing the register – no words are required to be spoken;
  • Married couples and civil partners are entitled to similar rights and responsibilities but there are some differences around eligibility for some pension rights and laws around adultery and non-consummation and courtesy titles;
  • Marriage can currently be conducted either through a religious ceremony or through a civil ceremony. 
  • Civil partnerships can only be conducted through a civil ceremony, although from December 2011 it has been possible for couples to have their civil partnership registration take place on religious premises, (although the registration itself must remain secular). This is an entirely voluntary provision for faith groups who want to host civil partnership registrations and does not lift the ban on any religious elements forming part of the civil partnership registration itself. The Government is committed to retaining this provision to enable same-sex couples to continue having a civil partnership registration on religious premises if that religious organisation has agreed.
  • Does this go far enough?
    • Equal should mean equal in all sense of the word and certainly not second class, as in the civil partnership.
    • Having to declare your relationship as a partnership, should be a breach of our human rights in declaring who we are. The only question should be - 'Are we in a civil-relationship, such as a marriage or partnership?'
    • Most civil partnerships are between committed people - just as opposite-sex marriages.
    • Some opposite-sex couples may prefer a civil-partnership as their sexual lives are varied, just as in the case of some same-sex couples. Thus the option of not having adultery as a term for dissolution, would benefit them.
    • Pension rights should be available for all, irrespective of civil relationship 
    • If strict Roman-Catholic countries can recognise same-sex marriages why can't we?
  • Should we be asking that religious organisations who do wish to solemnise same-sex marriages should be allowed to do so?
    • Just because some religious organisations choose to legally discriminate against LGBT why should other religious organisations be forced to discriminate by law. 
  • Should we be going further and seeking the Equalities Minister and the Home Secretary to change the current legislation to incorporate all religious organisations?
    • Wouldn't this then stop the homophobic comments from so-called christian people and christian organisations who are supposed to 'love thy neighbour'. Where is the love in their behaviour?
    • Discrimination should be abolished. No organisation should be allowed to discriminate.
    • The bible clearly states: “God does not have favourites, but that anybody... who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34-35). So why are they rejecting all LGBT people? 
I'm so glad to be part of a religious organisation that recognises all people! 

God has no favourites so why should we?

Have you had your say yet?  
Remember we cannot complain about it if we don’t take the opportunity to speak about it.

Follow this link: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/consultations/equal-civil-marriage/  and find the online link to complete the consultation.

Ensure you complete the consultation by June 14th.