The UK Government has published consultations on two related issues in Northern Ireland wedding/civil partnership law:
- same-sex religious marriage and the appropriate protections, and
- marriage and civil partnership conversion entitlements.
The consultations follow the legalisation of same-sex civil marriage and opposite-sex civil partnerships in Northern Ireland as from 13 January 2020.
S.8 Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc.) Act 2019 authorises the Secretary of State to make further regulations covering other related provisions, including giving the right to convert from a civil partnership to marriage or vice versa, and how to allow for religious same-sex marriage ceremonies while providing appropriate religious protections.
The consultations are seeking views on implementing same-sex religious marriage in Northern Ireland (alongside the appropriate protections) and whether or not to allow same-sex and opposite-sex couples to convert their civil partnerships to marriages and vice versa. The consultations close at 11.45 pm on 23 February. Regulations will follow after the Government has analysed the responses.
The preferred method for responses is online, via the following links:
- Same-sex religious marriage: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/F6WA0/
- Conversion entitlements in Northern Ireland: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/QMBH0/
Postal responses can be sent to Same-sex religious marriage and conversion consultation, Northern Ireland Office, Stormont House, Stormont Estate, BELFAST BT4 3SH.