Same-Sex Marriage – Update

Register Office Marriage

Further to our December post Same-Sex Marriage from 29th March 2014? commencement dates of 21 January, 13 March and 3 June have now been set by the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (Commencement No. 2 and Transitional Provision) Order 2014 for three groups of provisions within the 2013 Act.  Important for those seeking an early opportunity to marry is paragraph 3 of the Order which inter alia brings into force section 3 of the Act. This permits notice of same-sex marriage to be made from 13 March, and therefore the earliest date on which marriage may take place will be Saturday 29 March.  Details of the procedures involved are explained on the government web site here, which states that in addition to the required 16 day notice period, the couple must have lived in the registration district “for at least the past 7 days”.

Registration of Buildings and Appointment of Authorised Persons

Also coming into force on 13 March are the Marriage of Same Sex Couples (Registration of Buildings and Appointment of Authorised Persons) Regulations 2014, SI 106 which make the appropriate changes to the 1949 Marriage Act in relation to procedures for the registration of buildings within which same-sex marriages may take place, and the appointment of authorised persons to be present at the solemnization of  marriages in registered buildings when no registrar is present.

Additional provisions relate to religious buildings shared by more than one religious organisation for marriages of same-sex couples. The government response to the consultation relating to shared buildings is published here, and the Draft Marriage of Same Sex Couples (Registration of Shared Buildings) Regulations 2014 are to be discussed under the affirmative resolution procedure by the Delegated Legislation Committee today, 25 February.

Other Marriage Venues

Other venue-related Regulation to be discussed by the Committee are: Draft Consular Marriages and Marriages under Foreign Law Order 2014; Draft Marriage of Same Sex Couples (Use of Armed Forces’ Chapels) Regulations 2014; and Draft Overseas Marriage (Armed Forces) Order 2014.

The Committee will also consider: Draft Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (Consequential and Contrary Provisions and Scotland) Order 2014; Draft Marriage (Same Sex Couples) (Jurisdiction and Recognition of Judgments) Regulations 2014.

As we noted in our weekly round-up, the knock-on effects of changing the legal concept of marriage within the 2013 Act have resulted in: 56 consequential amendments to subordinate legislation and the 9 consequential amendments to Welsh subordinate legislation and changes to 36 items of primary legislation.