To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent discussions he has had with Northern Ireland’s First and Deputy First Minister on plans to legislate for same-sex religious marriage.
22 June 2020
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has not had any recent discussions with the First and deputy First Minister specifically on plans to legislate for same-sex religious marriage.
The Northern Ireland Executive is aware of the duty that the Government is under in section 8 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc.) Act 2019, which led to the making of The Marriage (Same-sex Couples) and Civil Partnership (Opposite-sex Couples) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2019. These Regulations came into force on 13 January and legalised same-sex civil marriage and opposite-sex civil partnerships in Northern Ireland.
We have been clear that there were two remaining areas we are committed to delivering on - same-sex religious marriage and conversion entitlements - following publicly consulting on these two issues earlier this year. We will continue to work closely with the Northern Ireland Civil Service, following confirmation from the Minister for Finance, Conor Murphy MLA, that the working relationship with his officials should continue. We intend to make regulations on same-sex religious marriage as soon as possible before the end of 2020 to provide similar rights and protections to the law in other parts of the UK.