Search Legislation

Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013

Territorial extent and application

Northern Ireland

21.Marriage is an area which is a devolved matter for Northern Ireland. The Act does not affect Northern Ireland directly, except as follows:

  • there are amendments to the law in Northern Ireland as it relates to re-issuing and correcting errors in gender recognition certificates and fraud proceedings under the Gender Recognition Act 2004;

  • the Act provides that marriages of same sex couples under the law of England and Wales will be treated as civil partnerships under the law of Northern Ireland.

22.The UK Government has proceeded in accordance with the convention that the UK Parliament does not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters in Northern Ireland except with the agreement of the Northern Ireland legislature. There are a number of provisions within the Act which triggered the convention. In addition to the provision of the Act which affects Northern Ireland directly (the treatment of same sex couples married in England and Wales), another provision which triggered that convention is a power for the Secretary of State to make consequential amendments in devolved areas. Other similar provisions include those which relate to the change of legal gender of married persons or civil partners. Any orders or regulations made under the Act which make provision that would otherwise be within the legislative competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly will require the consent of the Department of Finance and Personnel. Section 13 of the Act repeals the Foreign Marriage Act 1892, and Schedule 6 provides for a new regime of consular marriages and marriages on armed forces bases overseas in respect of both opposite sex and same sex couples. The Northern Ireland Assembly made a decision not to include section 13 of, or Schedule 6 to, the Act in the Legislative Consent Motion it passed on 24 June 2013. As a result, the Act excludes Northern Ireland from the new provisions regarding consular marriage and marriage on armed forces bases overseas.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources