Following a 2012 consultation, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill will allow same-sex couples to marry, either in a civil ceremony (in a register office or on approved premises, such as hotels) or, where the religious organisation’s governing body chooses to opt in, on religious premises or with a religious ceremony.
The Government has been clear that it would not introduce legislation unless there was absolute protection for religious belief, recognising and respecting the very important role that faith plays in society. This Bill will provide protection for any religious organisation, or individual minister of religion that chooses not to conduct marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees the right to freedom of religion and the Bill protects and promotes religious freedom through the Government’s ‘quadruple lock’.
Summary of what the Bill does