Monday 10 September 2018
Proposals to simplify the procedures and formalities of how and where people can get married have been largely supported by those responding to a public consultation.
The Policy & Resources Committee has today published the findings of its consultation on plans to reform the outdated 1919, Marriage Law. Its proposals seek to simplify the procedures and formalities of how to marry, ensure that the changes are inclusive and reflective of the needs of a modern society, while maintaining sufficient safeguards to protect against, illegal, sham and forced marriages.
The work to reform the law was prioritised by the States Assembly as part of the Policy & Resource Plan.
Proposals outlined in the consultation set out a change of approach giving celebrants greater authority. These included:
- allowing marriage ceremonies to take place in more places including outdoors and in territorial waters;
- allowing more people to legally conduct ceremonies, including non-religious belief celebrants;
- plans for Notice of Marriage to be given online and to have just one authority type (instead of three as currently) and to confirm immigration status before giving Notice of Marriage.
- proposals that will give couples greater freedom of choice in relation to when their ceremony takes place, whether the ceremony is open to the public and what content is included.
During the Committee's consultation, 361 people shared their views on the possible changes to the law and, overall, there was support for the proposed changes.
Deputy Jane Stephens, Policy & Resources Committee member who leads on social policy, said:
'We are pleased that the proposals presented to simplify, make more inclusive and modernise the marriage procedures and formalities are reflective of the majority of the public views received. We understand that the issue of how and where people get married is important to the community. We will now finalise the proposals and present these in a policy letter to the States before the end of the year.'
The public can access the consultation findings report via www.gov.gg/marriagelaw.