News about civil partnerships and marriage
The Minister for Equalities, Sajid Javid , has announced the date from which those in civil partnerships will be able to convert them into marriages, if they so wish. The date is 10 December. The announcement was made in an article for Pink News: Sajid Javid: I am pleased to announce that couples can soon convert civil partnerships to marriage.
We’ve made the process of conversion as straightforward as possible. Couples will simply have to attend a Register Office and sign a declaration that they both wish to convert their Civil Partnership to a marriage in front of the Superintendent Registrar. That’s it.
Mr Javid also said:
From 10 December there is also good news for married transgender people. You will now be able to change your legal gender without ending your marriage, provided you and your husband or wife agree to remain married.
This is the report on the conclusions of the review of civil partnership in England and Wales required under section 15 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. It includes a summary of the responses to the consultation which was carried out as part of the review. Given the lack of consensus on the way forward for civil partnership, the Government will not be making any changes.
So civil partnerships will continue to be available, but only to same-sex couples.
And the Ministry of Justice started a consultation on Marriages by non-religious belief organisations.
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’.
The consultation also seeks views on
- which non-religious belief organisations are capable of meeting the definition
- where, if allowed, such marriages would take place
- the provision of safeguards to deal with any resulting risks
- the equality impacts.
- Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 26 June 2014 at 9:00pm BST
Once again today, I am thankful to Simon Sarmiento, of ‘Thinking Anglicans’ for this latest news from the U.K., on the subject of legislation to change a Civil Partnership into Marriage.
In the wake of the Church of England’s recent embargo against clergy availing themselves of the recent legislation that allowed Same-Sex Couples to Marry; this new move on the part of the U.K. Government to allow Same Sex Civil Partnerships to be converted to Civil Marriage, will mean that any stipendiary clergy who have contracted into a Civil Partnership may not be allowed by the Church to convert that C.P. to a Marriage contract.
In view of the fact that at least two beneficed clergy have already decided to enter into a legal Marriage under the new regulations with their Same-Sex Partner – despite the embargo on Same-Sex Marriage for Clergy – this new possibility, of simple Conversion of an existing C.P. into a contract of Marriage, will no doubt cause an even bigger headache to the hierarchy of the Church of England.
Involved here is the anomaly of the fact that, although clergy have been allowed to contract into a Civil Partnership, giving them all the rights of a Married Couple in the eyes of the State; the same State will now allow them the privilege of a ‘proper’ Marriage – without any ceremony other than a simple registration with the local Register Office.
It seems to me, in the light of this, that the sooner the Church of England convokes a theological symposium on the ‘Theology of Marriage’, the better for all concerned. The State has now legalised Marriage for Same-Sex persons – on a par with Marriage for Opposite Gender persons. The Church, however, seems not yet ready to agree with the equality of opportunity that this allows for tweo people of the same gender.
In my last post (posted today) I have advertised the upcoming Conference on The Theology of Marriage, being convened by the LGBTI/Anglican Conference in England, to take place at St. John’s, Waterloo Rd., London, in September of this year. It would be good if member Churches of the world-wide Anglican Communion – including ACANZP – could send representatives to this conference.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand