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Equal Civil Marriage Consultation

Volume 542: debated on Thursday 15 March 2012

The Government are today launching a consultation on how to introduce equal civil marriage.

During a listening exercise conducted in 2010 on allowing civil partnerships to take place on religious premises, we heard representations from many who sought equal access to marriage for same-sex couples. It was argued by some that having two separate provisions for same-sex and opposite-sex couples perpetuates misconceptions and discrimination.

We recognise that the personal commitment made by same-sex couples when they enter into a civil partnership is no different to the commitment made by opposite-sex couples when they enter into a marriage. We do not think that the ban on same-sex couples getting married should continue.

That is why we are, today, launching this consultation to seek the public’s views on how we can remove the ban on same-sex couples getting a civil marriage. We are clear that no changes will be made to how religious organisations define and solemnise religious marriages and we are clear that we will retain civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

Copies of the consultation document are being placed in the House Library.