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Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014

Section 13: Registration of nominated persons as celebrants

76.Section 13 makes a number of amendments to section 9 of the 1977 Act, which relates to the registration of nominated persons as celebrants. Section 9 of the 1977 Act permits the authorisation of celebrants of bodies who have not been prescribed by regulations or are not, in the case of opposite sex marriage, the Church of Scotland.

77.Subsection (2)(a) amends section 9(1) of the 1977 Act so that it just relates to opposite sex marriages. This means that section 9(1) as amended provides that a religious or belief body, other than the Church of Scotland or a body prescribed by regulations to solemnise opposite sex marriage, may nominate to the Registrar General members so that that they can solemnise opposite sex marriages.

78.Subsection (2)(b) to (l) then inserts new subsections into section 9 of the 1977 Act. The new section 9(1A), inserted by subsection (2)(b), provides that a religious or belief body who has not been prescribed by regulations to solemnise same sex marriage may nominate celebrants to the Registrar General so that they can be authorised to solemnise same sex marriage.

79.A number of amendments are made to section 9 of the 1977 Act, which provides for when the Registrar General must reject a nomination; what happens when a nomination is accepted; the register of authorised celebrants and their bodies; and for appeals. These amendments are made to take account of the introduction of same sex marriage and the authorisation of belief bodies and their celebrants.

80.Under section 9(2) of the 1977 Act, the Registrar General must reject a nomination on various grounds including if the Registrar General considers the nominating body has sufficient celebrants to meet its needs. The amendment in subsection (2)(c) amends the grounds to reflect the changes made to subsection (1) and the new subsection (1A). The amendments reflect that bodies may have different needs in relation to celebrants solemnising same sex marriage when compared with opposite sex marriage.

81.A new ground for rejection of not meeting the qualifying requirements is added to section 9(2)(e) by subsection (2)(d) to the circumstances in which the Registrar General must reject a nomination.

82.Under section 9(2) of the 1977 Act, the Registrar General must also reject a nomination on the ground that the marriage ceremony used by the nominating body is not of an appropriate form. Section 9(3) of the 1977 Act sets out that a marriage ceremony will be of an appropriate form if it includes, and is no way inconsistent with particular declarations. Subsection (2)(f) amends section 9(3) to expand upon the declarations which will be considered to be of an appropriate form in the case of a marriage ceremony between persons of different sexes.

83.Section 9(3) (as amended) permits the Registrar General to accept nominations from religious and belief bodies which use (i) only gender specific language in marriage declarations, (ii) only gender neutral language in marriage declarations or (iii) a combination of both gender specific and gender neutral language in marriage declarations.

84.Subsection (2)(g) inserts provisions about the declarations for same sex ceremonies.

85.Subsection (2)(h) makes amendments to section 9(4) of the 1977 Act, which deals with cases where the Registrar General accepts the nomination. The Registrar General must currently decide how long the period of authorisation for the nominee should be, and may decide which area the nominee may solemnise marriages in. The amendments give the Registrar General the power to restrict any nominee to solemnising marriages in specific places.

86.Subsections (3), (4) and (5) make several amendments to sections 10, 14 and 24 of the 1977 Act. Section 10 makes provision about when a celebrant’s name may be removed from the register of bodies and celebrants who are authorised to solemnise marriage. Section 14 is about the form of ceremony to be used by a celebrant. Section 24 is about offences under the 1977 Act.

87.The amendments made by subsections (3), (4) and (5) are consequential, as a result of changes made to other provisions of the 1977 Act about authorisation of belief bodies; maintaining separate registers for same sex and opposite sex marriages; creating separate declarations for same sex and opposite sex marriage ceremonies; and enabling the Registrar General to authorise a nominee celebrant for a particular place only.

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