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Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013

Part 3 – Marriage of forces personnel under UK law

186.Part 3 provides for a power for Her Majesty by Order in Council to make provision for members of the armed forces serving overseas, and accompanying civilians, to marry in the presence of a chaplain or other authorised officer. Such an Order in Council would replace the Foreign Marriage (Armed Forces) Order 1964, made under section 22 of the Foreign Marriage Act 1892, for both opposite sex and same sex couples. In respect of same sex couples the Order would authorise a marriage only where the couple would have been eligible to marry in a part of the United Kingdom to be determined in accordance with the Order. Thus the marriage of a same sex couple would be authorised only if the relevant part of the United Kingdom were one which permits such marriages. In relation to the marriage of a same sex couple the Order could also include provision prohibiting the use of particular religious rites or usages and will specifically preclude marriage according to the rites of the Church of England or the Church in Wales. The Order must also make provision as to consents to the solemnization of marriages of same sex couples according to other religious rites.


  • A couple, where one or both partners are members of the Armed Forces, wish to marry whilst serving in Germany. The Order would govern this marriage taking place in Germany. The couple could elect any part of the United Kingdom where they would have been eligible to marry had they married in the United Kingdom. Where the couple are of the same sex, the marriage could only be authorised if the chosen part of the United Kingdom permitted such marriages.

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