Current Affairs

Review launched into marriages by non-religious belief organisations

Joseph McCormick June 26, 2014
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A review has been launched by the Government into whether or not to allow non-religious belief organisations such as humanists, to perform marriage ceremonies.

The review was promised as part of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, amid calls to allow organisations such as the humanists to perform official marriage ceremonies.

Baroness Stowell of Beeston introduced Amendment 7, drafted by Baroness Meacher, Lord Gare-Jones, Baroness Brinton and Lord Alli, which will ensure the review and consultation take place.

The review survey reads: “Section 14 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 requires a review to be carried out of whether the law should be changed to permit marriages by non-religious belief organisations.

“The consultation asks if there is a substantial case for changing the law to establish non-religious belief ceremonies. This would allow a third type of legal ceremony, alongside religious and civil ceremonies, for getting married in England and Wales.

“Section 14 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’.”

During the debate, Baroness Glenys Thornton, the Shadow Minister for Equalities, welcomed the amendment, and Baroness Stowell said: “Right back at ya”, to Baroness Thornton following praise for cross-party collaboration on the idea of a consultation.

A previous amendment to the bill concerning humanist marriage ceremonies, was withdrawn during the third and final reading of the bill in the House of Commons, after the attorney general warned that it would fall foul of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Gilbert was a supporter of the previous amendment.

Writing for, the MP said: “The prime minister may have to accept that there are likely to be majorities in the House of Commons for opposite sex civil partnerships, humanist weddings as well as equal marriage for gay and lesbian people. He should welcome these changes.”

Related topics: Civil partnerships, equal marriage, gay marriage, gay wedding, Humanist, lesbian marriage, lesbian wedding, marriage, marriage equality, same sex marriage, Same-sex wedding, wedding

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