Consultation on Outdoor Weddings

The Ministry of Justice has now published its consultation on outdoor weddings. It is proposed that the temporary authorisation of outdoor weddings at approved premises will be made permanent. It is also proposed that outdoor weddings will be permitted in the yards of places of worship that are already registered for the purpose of marriage law.

See the Ministry of Justice for the Press Release, Consultation Paper and the Consultation Questions. The consultation runs for six weeks.

It is stated that this consultation is separate to the work of the Law Commission which is says will report in ‘Summer 2022’.

Although these changes are welcome, they do not satisfy the need for reform in marriage law and will make no difference to the major points of concern there. I discussed this in an earlier blog post when outdoor weddings were temporarily permitted in respects of approved premises.

The proposed changes in respect of religious weddings actually underlined the ongoing problem: the law continues to be based around registered places of religious worship. This is indirectly discriminatory towards religions who have a tradition of marriages taking place elsewhere such as in the home or community centre and those who have no place of worship. It is directly discriminatory towards belief organisations who are excluded under the law – this consultation does nothing in relation to weddings conducted by humanist and independent celebrants that continue to have no legal effect.

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