Chapter 4: Other matters and conclusion
4.01 If, following this consultation, the Government should decide to move towards legislation, the Government will consult on a draft Bill. We will include a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment ( BRIA) in the consultation on the draft Bill, for consultees to comment on. In line with usual practice, the Scottish Government will meet with affected businesses when preparing this BRIA.
4.02 On costs, there would be registration fees for applicants, but these would be similar to existing registration fees.
4.03 There might be some one-off start up costs for the state. The consultation by the UK Government on civil partnerships in religious premises in England and Wales estimated that the changes proposed there would create a total one-off transitional cost to all registrars of £65,699.
4.04 The UK Government consultation also estimated that the owners of religious premises would need to hold 3 civil partnerships a year before theoretically making a profit.
4.05 There were significant costs when civil partnerships were introduced. As the UK Government's Regulatory Impact Assessment said at the time "Overall the costs identified in this RIA are justified by the social policy reasons for introducing a civil partnership scheme for same-sex couples. 
4.06 These costs will not be repeated, given that civil partnerships were new. As outlined in Annex B, there are some differences in relation to survivors' benefits in pension schemes. The Scottish Government will discuss this with the UK Government and pension providers when preparing the BRIA.
4.07 Some people may have chosen not to enter into a civil partnership and to wait instead for same sex marriage to be introduced. If there were significant numbers, this could increase the costs of the proposals in this consultation paper (as more people would move from being single to being married). However, the Scottish Government's understanding is that the numbers involved are low and costs will not be significant.
4.08 Around 20% of marriages in Scotland at the moment are between people who do not live here. The proposals contained in this paper might encourage more people to visit Scotland to register a civil partnership or get married.
4.09 If, following this consultation, the Government should decide to move towards legislation, the Government will consult on a draft Bill. We will include an Equality Impact Assessment ( EQIA) in the consultation on the draft Bill, for consultees to comment on. The Scottish Government will meet with key parties when preparing this EQIA.
4.10 The proposals in this paper would further equalities for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people. In particular:
- the proposals would allow couples to have a religious ceremony to register their civil partnership, so long as the religious body and celebrant were content to do so;
- the proposals would allow same sex couples to enter into marriage, solemnised by a civil registrar;
- the proposals would allow same sex couples to enter into a marriage solemnised by a religious celebrant, so long as the religious body and celebrant were content to do so; and
- the proposals would mean that transgender people would not be required to divorce before acquiring the final gender recognition certificate.
4.11 The Government considers that the proposals in this paper would increase religious freedom, as religious bodies and religious celebrants who wished to do so would be able to register civil partnerships and solemnise same sex marriages.
4.12 However, the Government also recognises the deeply held views of those religious bodies, religious celebrants and others who are opposed, on faith grounds, to registering or solemnising same sex relationships.
4.13 As indicated, the Government intends to ensure that religious bodies and religious celebrants are not required to participate in same sex ceremonies.
4.14 In addition, the Government intends to hold meetings with key parties, including religious bodies who oppose proposals contained in this consultation paper, to ensure their views are heard and reflected fully.
4.15 The Scottish Government does not consider there to be major environmental implications from the proposals contained in this consultation paper. If, after this consultation, the Government should decide to move towards legislation, we will carry out a pre-screening exemption from Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA) requirements. This involves formally advising the statutory SEA consultation authorities  that the Government does not intend to carry out an SEA, and seeking any views they may have.
Consequential legislative changes
4.16 The introduction of civil partnerships was a major legislative undertaking. As well as the Civil Partnership Act itself, other legislation had to be changed and brought in to ensure equality of treatment: for example, the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 made a number of changes to reflect the introduction of civil partnerships.
4.17 The changes proposed by this consultation would require primary legislation. There would also be consequential changes to other legislation. The exact nature of what is required will depend on whether or not a Bill is introduced and what the Bill contains . As indicated, there will be a full public consultation on any draft Bill.
4.18 In general terms, where legislation is required for other parts of the UK or about reserved matters in Scotland, it may be possible in consequence of an Act of the Scottish Parliament to make the legislation by means of an Order under the Scotland Act 1998. Any such Order would be taken through the UK Parliament by UK Ministers.
Other points consultees may wish to raise
4.19 Consultees are welcome to make any other points.
Do you have any other comments?
We are particularly interested in your views on:
- potential implications of the proposals for transgender people (paragraph 3.42)
- possible transitional arrangements (paragraphs 3.43 and 3.44);
- recognition of Scottish same sex marriages elsewhere (paragraphs 3.45 to 3.49);
- any comments on forced marriage (paragraphs 3.51 and 3.52)
- any comments on sham marriage (paragraph 3.53)
- potential financial implications (paragraphs 4.01 to 4.08);
- potential equality implications (paragraphs 4.09 to 4.14).
The Scottish Government September 2011