Customer Services, Sport & Leisure Cabinet Member – Minutes – 15 July 2015

2   (2)  MARRIAGE AND CIVIL PARTNERSHIP PROCEEDINGS AND OUTDOOR CEREMONIES –  The Director of Places submitted a report reporting on changes to legislation following the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, and seeking approval to offer non-statutory ceremonies outdoors at Approved Premises and set relevant fees.

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 allowed for same sex couples, already in a Civil Partnership, to convert their Civil Partnership into a marriage. This came into force on 10 December 2014. To date, there had been 10 Civil Partnership conversions in North Lincolnshire. All were held in the Register Office.  So far, no-one had opted to have a ceremony.

Non Statutory ceremonies outdoors

The Marriage Act (1949) and the Civil Partnership Act (2004) stated that marriages/civil partnerships must take place in a building in which designated rooms are registered or approved for marriages. The current legislation allowed only for a marriage to be solemnised indoors and in a permanent structure. Commercial venues such as hotels, stately homes, clubs and other similar premises were licensed to host civil ceremonies.

Demand was growing for ceremonies to take place outdoors. This was not legally possible at the moment.  This could change when marriage laws were eventually reviewed.Some couples make this appear possible by completing the legal marriage beforehand and then choosing to use the services of an independent celebrant to conduct a non-statutory, celebratory ceremony in their preferred location.

Registrars were trained to deliver high quality ceremonies.  They already conducted non-statutory ceremonies such as naming’s and renewal of vows. It was proposed, therefore, to offer a variation on marriage ceremonies for those couples who would like to marry outdoors.

The new service would enable couples firstly to complete the legal ceremony.  They would then move on to the celebratory element of the day.

It was proposed to charge a fee of £100 on top of the Approved Premise fee for the service.  This would cover the extra time required to deliver the non-statutory element of the proceedings.

Resolved – (a)  That the changes in legislation be noted, and (b) that the proposed introduction of outside celebratory ceremonies and the associated fees be approved.