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Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013

Shared buildings

92.Paragraph 3 (“Shared buildings”) inserts new sections 44A to 44D into the Marriage Act. New section 44A sets out procedures for the registration for the purpose of religious marriage ceremonies of same sex couples of certified places of worship which are shared between more than one religious organisation under a formal sharing arrangement under the Sharing of Church Buildings Act 1969 or otherwise covered by that Act (such as university or hospital chapels). In particular, section 44A provides that agreement to registration is required from the governing authority of each of the organisations which share the building. All the sharing organisations do not need to consent to solemnize marriages of same sex couples themselves, but need to agree to the building being used to solemnize such marriages. A power is included for the Secretary of State to make regulations in relation to this section.

93.New section 44B provides for the cancellation of the registration for the conduct of marriages of same sex couples of buildings shared under a formal sharing arrangement. Any application for cancellation must be made in accordance with new section 43C but can be made either by the proprietor or trustee of the building or by the governing authority of any of the sharing churches. If the application is made by a governing authority, it must be accompanied by a written confirmation that the organisation making the application is the relevant governing authority of that religion. The consent of all sharing churches is not required. A power is included for the Secretary of State to make regulations in relation to this section.

94.New section 44C contains a power for the Secretary of State to make regulations about the registration, cancellation of registration and use of certified places of worship which are used by more than one religious organisation but are not subject to a formal sharing arrangement under, or otherwise dealt with in, the Sharing of Church Buildings Act 1969.

95.New section 44D provides definitions of terms used in sections 44A to 44C such as “sharing agreement” and “shared building”. It also provides power for the Secretary of State to make regulations about the registration of shared buildings, and the use of shared premises for marriage of same sex couples more generally. In particular, the regulations may deal with the solemnization of marriages by Quakers or marriages according to the Jewish religion in shared buildings (including consents for registration and cancellation of registrations in these cases). Under subsection (8) of this new section, the affirmative procedure is required for use of any of the powers relating to shared buildings.

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