Non-religious marriage

3rd September 2019

I share your concerns about the current marriage laws and agree that meaningful change needs to take place. You may be interested to know that when the Government held a consultation on this in 2014, the majority of respondents were in favour of changing the law to allow legally valid non-religious belief ceremonies in unrestricted locations.

What is also clear, however, is the importance of not embarking upon piecemeal reform, which may lead to inconsistencies between groups - for example non-religious belief organisations and religious belief organisations. I know that the Government wants to reform marriage ceremonies to make sure that there is a simple, fair and consistent legal framework, so that people can have a wedding that is meaningful to them.

That is why the Government asked the Law Commission in October 2018 to come up with options to make our marriage system simple, fair and consistent offering more choice for modern couples. As part of the project, the Law Commission will consider how a scheme could include weddings conducted by non-religious belief organisations and independent celebrants and where weddings should be able to take place.

I understand that the Law Commission will now begin its work on the project and prepare questions and provisional proposals for reform for a public consultation. The detailed review including a final report is expected to last two years.

I believe that the requirement for venues to be seemly and dignified should be maintained. However, I do welcome the fact that alongside the Law Commission review, Ministers are exploring the extent to which regulations governing approved premises could be reformed to allow outdoor locations for civil weddings and civil partnership ceremonies.

Ten Climate Actions To Celebrate

The Cotswolds

1. The UK passed the world’s first Climate Change Act over a decade ago with cross-party support. This gave us both a framework to set statutory carbon budgets and set up the independent Committee on Climate Change.

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How to raise an issue

Call 020 7219 5043 or email cliftonbrowng@parliament.uk if you wish to raise an important matter with me - but please check "What can an MP do for me?" in the section before making contact.

In some cases a face-to-face appointment/pre-arranged telephone call may be necessary in order to discuss and pursue matters personally.

However, I ask that all cases must first be raised with me in writing by letter or email.

Once initial enquiries have been made on your behalf then I will consider the best and most appropriate way forward in order to help you.

WHAT CAN AN MP DO FOR ME?

Many people think that their MP exists to solve all their problems for them: this is not the case.

MPs are there to legislate and help only with those matters for which Parliament or central government is responsible.

For many matters, the appropriate first step would be to contact your local Cotswold District or Gloucestershire County Councillor.

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