Humanist Marriages

Thank you for contacting me about humanist marriage.
 
Marriage is one of our most important institutions. As you have noted, the previous Government consulted in 2014 on marriages by non-religious belief organisations and concluded there were broader implications for marriage law.
 
It was to this end that the Law Commission undertook initial scoping work to identify the issues for potential reform of the law concerning how and where people can get married in England and Wales. It published its report on this initial work in 2015. The Government is carefully considering the report and will respond in due course.
 
Having looked into this issue, I have been informed that those supporting legally valid humanist marriages have told the Government that only unrestricted locations will provide for the needs of humanist couples. In England and Wales the majority of couples, whether choosing a religious or civil wedding, are restricted in where they can marry and cannot marry out of doors. The fact that humanists do not have buildings to register, and wish to marry in unrestricted locations, is one of a number of matters that need to be taken account of when considering whether the law should be changed to allow for another type of marriage ceremony.
 
It is right that the Government carefully considers the differences in treatment that already exist within marriage law alongside any further differences that would result from permitting legally valid non-religious belief marriages. I am following this issue carefully, and will make sure the Government is held accountable.