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Marriage: Ceremonies

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL4172, tabled on 8 December 2022

To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Answer by Lord Bellamy on 29 November on humanist marriages (HL Deb col 1668), why they have committed to legislating for outdoor religious marriages outside of wholesale reform of marriage law.

Answered on

20 December 2022

As part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, in which the circumstances were exceptional, the Government accelerated legislation to allow outdoor civil weddings and civil partnership registrations to take place within the grounds of existing approved premises. Following a recent consultation on these measures, the provisions were made permanent. In addition, respondents were overwhelmingly in favour of the proposal to permit outdoor religious ceremonies in the grounds of places of worship, as long as this is permitted by the respective religious bodies. The Government will therefore take these proposals forward in due course.

The Law Commission’s report on weddings law was published in July and the Government is currently considering its recommendations. As has been set out in Parliament, marriage will always be one of our most important institutions and we must ensure that before publishing a response, we have considered the implications of any changes to the law very carefully.