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Marriage: Humanism

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL15225, tabled on 22 April 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take further to the High Court’s judgment in Harrison v Secretary of State for Justice & others, published on 31 July 2020; and what consideration they have given to introducing legislation to recognise humanist marriages in England and Wales.

Answered on

28 April 2021

The Government announced in June 2019 that the Law Commission will conduct a fundamental review of the law on how and where people can legally marry in England and Wales. As part of that review, the Government invited the Law Commission to make recommendations about how marriage by humanist and other non-religious belief organisations could be incorporated into a revised or new scheme for all marriages that is simple, fair and consistent.

The Commission launched its consultation on 3 September 2020 and it closed on 4 January 2021. The law on wedding ceremonies is a complex and important area of the law. The Commission considered it essential to conduct an extensive consultation with the wide range of interested groups and individuals who would be affected by reform.

The Commission expects to report to Government with its recommendations in the second half of this year. The Government will decide on provision for non-religious belief marriage in light of the Law Commission's recommendations.