The Office for National Statistics have estimated that 73,600 weddings have been postponed between the beginning of lockdown and July 4, when ‘small marriages and civil partnerships‘ are permitted under tight restrictions.
Here is our comment to the press …
“We hugely welcome the return of the right of couples to marry on July 4. Hooray for the love that commits to a life together.
But this right should never have gone away in the first place. In sensibly banning wedding gatherings, government also foolishly banned the legal aspect of weddings which requires just five people – celebrant, couples and two witnesses.
At a time when the fragility of life has been all too apparent, the Office for National Statistics estimate that 73,600 engaged couples – including the Prime Minister himself – have been prevented from gaining the important legal protections that go with marriage.
Marriage law needs to be more like our neighbours in France, Germany, Belgium and Netherlands, where couples simply register their marriage legally and are then free to have their ceremony and celebration however and wherever they want.
The Law Commission
who are reviewing marriage law describe universal civil marriage as ‘simple, fair and certain’.
The bossy new rules on ‘small marriages and civil partnerships
’ – 3,500 words long – illustrate perfectly why government should restrict itself to the simple legal registration of marriage and stop micromanaging the complex permutations of wedding celebrations.
Our advice to couples is to use the new rules as an opportunity to change legal status to ‘married’ and that’s it. You are then free to have the celebration you want – whether in a pub, church, field, or hot air balloon – when we’re allowed to gather again.”
Harry Benson, Research Director, Marriage Foundation