Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill

Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 received Royal Assent on 12 March 2014.  The implementation timetable envisages the bulk of the Act's provisions coming into force by the end of 2014, with the first same-sex marriages in Scotland being possible around then.  It is too early to say precisely when in 2014 it will be possible for same-sex couples to give notice to get married, but the existing maximum marriage notice period of 3 months will remain unchanged.

Once all the provisions are in force, it will be possible for same-sex couples to have a civil marriage ceremony, or a "religious or belief" marriage ceremony where the religious or belief body has opted-in to solemnising same sex marriage.  The Act will also allow certain civil partners to change their civil partnership to a marriage.

The Government intends to consult later this year on whether it should be possible for civil partners who registered their civil partnership outwith Scotland to have a ceremony in Scotland to change their civil partnership to a marriage.

Civil partnership will continue to be available to same-sex couples as before, as an alternative to marriage, and same-sex couples will also have the option of a "religious or belief" civil partnership where the religious or belief body has opted in to registering civil partnerships.

The Government intends to consult later this year on the future of civil partnerships in Scotland. The Government has made it clear that existing civil partnerships can remain and there will be no obligation on existing civil partners to change their relationship to a marriage if they do not wish to do so.

Implementation circulars

The Scottish Government has produced two circulars with information about implementation of the Act.  We will produce further circulars and publish further information on this page when it is available.

Consultations

The Government intends to consult next year on qualifying requirements which religious and belief bodies must meet before solemnising marriage and registering civil partnership.  In the meantime, the Government has produced an initial discussion paper.

See also our page on closed consultations.

Prosecution guidance

The Lord Advocate has prepared prosecution guidance which you can view on the website of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill

Information about the Bill and the consultations that led up to it.