Free conversion to marriage for a year

"Bi Do!"The government has announced that the fee for converting an existing civil partnership to a same-sex marriage will be £45.

However for the first 12 months – starting on December 10th, when the conversion process will become available – it will be free.

Humanist marriage?

Marriage to become another bit more equal?As part of the Marriage Act, there a review has been launched today by the Government into whether to allow non-religious belief organisations, such as humanists, to perform marriage ceremonies in Wales and England.

The review would be made in line with Section 14 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, which at present defines a belief organisation as ‘an organisation whose principal or sole purpose is the advancement of a system of non-religious beliefs which relate to morality or ethics’.

The consultation also seeks views on

  • which non-religious belief organisations are capable of meeting the definition
  • where, if allowed, such marriages would take place
  • the provision of safeguards to deal with any resulting risks
  • the equality impacts.

Click here to read & take part in the consultation.

Marriage Conversions this year – but Government split means no mixed-sex Civil Partnerships

Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalitionThe government has announced the date from which existing Civil Partnerships may be converted to marriages.

The provision – one of the outstanding items from the Same-Sex Marriage Act – will come into effect from 10th December. As yet it is not clear what the process or cost will be – there is widely expected to be some basic administration fee but there may be further requirements.

However, despite the recent consultation on mixed-sex civil partnerships, government minister Sajid Javid MP has now said that there will be no legislation to open up civil partnerships to mixed-sex couples.

It would seem unlikely that this can now happen before the 2015 General Election: while the Lib Dems have pressed for it as a matter of equality, most Conservative MPs remain opposed to the measure, and Labour blocked mixed-sex civil partnerships when they were in power.

Isle of Man gets stuck in the past

Another step along the wayThe Isle of Man will treat same-sex marriages as if they were civil partnerships, the island’s Policy and Reform Minister Chris Robertshaw has told the Tynwald.

The first same-sex marriages in Wales and England took place in March, while Scotland will follow later this year.

Some 50 other partnership registration arrangements from around the world will also be treated as if they were civil partnerships – a move copying one by the UK government 18 months ago.

Luxembourg joins the marriage club

Luxembourg flagLuxembourg today became the ninth EU country to legalise same-sex marriage.

The bill passed by a landslide – 56 votes in favour and 4 against. The law will come into effect from January 1st next year.

Luxembourg has an openly gay Prime Minister, the Liberal Xavier Bettel, and also an out-gay Deputy Prime Minister, Socialist party leader Etienne Schneider.

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