Marriage: Reviews

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 19th July 2021.

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Photo of Craig Whittaker Craig Whittaker Assistant Whip

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether the Law Commission is reviewing non-religious belief marriage as part of their review of marriage; and if he will use the powers that are available to him to legalise non-religious marriage ceremonies to help clear the backlog created by the covid-19 outbreak without waiting for that review to report.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The Law Commission report due later this year is expected to present options for wholesale reform to the law governing marriage ceremonies, which the Government will consider carefully. Options being explored by the Law Commission include offering couples greater flexibility to form their own ceremonies, allowing the ceremony to take place in a much broader range of locations and to provide a framework that could allow non-religious belief organisations (such as Humanists) and/or independent celebrants to conduct legally binding weddings.

The Government will decide on provision for non-religious belief marriage in the light of the Law Commission's recommendations and it is right for us to await these recommendations.

Delivery of registration services falls to local authorities who continue to manage the demand for civil marriage within their respective geographical areas during recovery from the pandemic.

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