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Marriage and Civil Partnership (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2020

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2020 will come into force on 1 September 2020.

The regulations allow same-sex couples to form a religious marriage in Northern Ireland and overseas in accordance with arrangements for armed forces marriages under Northern Ireland law. It also provides protections for those religious bodies and individual officiants who do not wish to perform same-sex religious marriages, or to provide ceremonies or events to mark the solemnisation of same-sex marriages or the formation of civil partnerships.

Section 8 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 ("NIEFA") imposed a duty on the Secretary of State to make regulations to enable same-sex marriage and opposite-sex civil partnerships in Northern Ireland by 13 January 2020. The Marriage (Same-sex Couples) and Civil Partnership (Opposite-sex Couples) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2019, which came into force on 13 January 2020, allowed same-sex couples in Northern Ireland and under Northern Ireland law to form a civil marriage and opposite-sex couples to register a civil partnership.

The UK Government committed to introducing further regulations under NIEFA enabling same-sex religious marriage later in 2020, following a consultation exercise.

For the 2020 regulations, click here. For an explanatory memorandum of the regulations, click here.