New Amendments on Equality Bill

Simon Sarmiento at Thinking Anglicans has highlighted a new amendment to the Equality Bill which will be presented at the Third Reading in the Lords. This amendment just tidies up the law as regards registering a religious premises. Nothing in these amendments covers the issue as to whether a Church of England incumbent can register his/her parish church for Civil Partnerships without the permission of the Bishop.

Here are the full details.

—-

Clause 202
LORD ALLI
BARONESS NOAKES
BARONESS NEUBERGER

Page 125, line 25, at end insert—
“(2B) Provision by virtue of subsection (2)(b) may, in particular, provide that applications for approval of premises may only be made with the consent (whether general or specific) of a person specified, or a person of a description specified, in the provision.
(2C) The power conferred by section 258(2), in its application to the power conferred by this section, includes in particular—
(a) power to make provision in relation to religious premises that differs from provision in relation to other premises;
(b) power to make different provision for different kinds of religious premises.”
Page 125, line 29, at end insert—
“(3B) “Civil marriage” means marriage solemnised otherwise than according to the rites of the Church of England or any other religious usages.
(3C) “Religious premises” means premises which—
(a) are used solely or mainly for religious purposes, or
(b) have been so used and have not subsequently been used solely or mainly for other purposes.”

Now, here is the wording of Clause 202 as already amended, and showing in bold the effect of the above new amendment on that Clause:

Civil partnerships
Civil partnerships on religious premises
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 is amended as follows. 20
Omit section 6(1)(b) and (2). In section 6A, after subsection (2), insert—

“(2A) Regulations under this section may provide that premises approved for the registration of civil partnerships may differ from those premises approved for the registration of civil marriages.” 25

(2B) Provision by virtue of subsection (2)(b) may, in particular, provide that applications for approval of premises may only be made with the consent (whether general or specific) of a person specified, or a person of a description specified, in the provision.

(2C) The power conferred by section 258(2), in its application to the power conferred by this section, includes in particular—
(a) power to make provision in relation to religious premises that differs from provision in relation to other premises;
(b) power to make different provision for different kinds of religious premises.”

In section 6A, after subsection (3), insert—
“(3A) For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in this Act places an obligation on religious organisations to host civil partnerships if they do not wish to do so.”

(3B) “Civil marriage” means marriage solemnised otherwise than according to the rites of the Church of England or any other religious usages.

(3C) “Religious premises” means premises which—
(a) are used solely or mainly for religious purposes, or
(b) have been so used and have not subsequently been used solely or mainly for other purposes.”

And finally, below the fold is the wording of the amended clauses of the Civil Partnership Act 2004, to show where it would end up, if this new amendment is passed.

There are two other minor amendments filed:

Clause 216
LORD ALLI
BARONESS NOAKES
BARONESS NEUBERGER
Page 134, line 9, after “sections” insert
“202 (civil partnerships on religious premises),”

Schedule 27
LORD ALLI
BARONESS NOAKES
BARONESS NEUBERGER
Page 234, line 24, at end insert—
“Civil Partnership Act 2004 Section 6(1)(b) and (2)”

Civil Partnership Act 2004 as amended

Section 6 Place of registration

(1) The place at which two people may register as civil partners of each other—

(a) must be in England or Wales,
(b) must not be in religious premises, and
(c) must be specified in the notices, or notice, of proposed civil partnership required by this Chapter.

(2) “Religious premises” means premises which—

(a) are used solely or mainly for religious purposes, or
(b) have been so used and have not subsequently been used solely or mainly for other purposes.

(3) Subsections (3A) and (3B) apply in the case of registration under the standard procedure (including that procedure modified as mentioned in section 5).

(3A) The place must be—

(a) on approved premises, or
(b) in a register office.

(3B) If it is in a register office, the place must be open to any person wishing to attend the registration.

(3C) In this Chapter “register office” means a register office provided under section 10 of the Registration Service Act 1953.

Section 6A Power to approve premises

(1) The Chancellor of the Exchequer may by regulations make provision for and in connection with the approval by registration authorities of premises for the purposes of section 6(3A)(a).

(2) The matters dealt with by regulations may include—

(a) the kind of premises in respect of which approvals may be granted;
(b) the procedure to be followed in relation to applications for approval;
(c) the considerations to be taken into account by a registration authority in determining whether to approve any premises;
(d) the duration and renewal of approvals;
(e) the conditions that must or may be imposed by a registration authority on granting or renewing an approval;
(f) the determination and charging by registration authorities of fees in respect of applications for the approval of premises and in respect of the renewal of approvals;
(g) the circumstances in which a registration authority must or may revoke an approval;
(h) the review of any decision to refuse an approval or the renewal of an approval, to impose conditions on granting or renewing an approval or to revoke an approval;
(i) the notification to the Registrar General of all approvals granted, renewed or revoked;
(j) the keeping by registration authorities of registers of approved premises;
(k) the issue by the Registrar General of guidance supplementing the provision made by the regulations.

( ) Regulations under this section may provide that premises approved for the registration of civil partnerships may differ from those premises approved for the registration of civil marriages.

(2B) Provision by virtue of subsection (2)(b) may, in particular, provide that applications for approval of premises may only be made with the consent (whether general or specific) of a person specified, or a person of a description specified, in the provision.

(2C) The power conferred by section 258(2), in its application to the power conferred by this section, includes in particular—

(a) power to make provision in relation to religious premises that differs from provision in relation to other premises;
(b) power to make different provision for different kinds of religious premises.

(3) Without prejudice to the width of subsection (2)(e), the Chancellor of the Exchequer must exercise his power to provide for the imposition of conditions as mentioned there so as to secure that members of the public are permitted to attend when two people sign the civil partnership schedule on approved premises in accordance with section 6(3A)(a)

(3A) For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in this Act places an obligation on religious organisations to host civil partnerships if they do not wish to do so.”

(3B) “Civil marriage” means marriage solemnised otherwise than according to the rites of the Church of England or any other religious usages.

(3C) “Religious premises” means premises which—

(a) are used solely or mainly for religious purposes, or
(b) have been so used and have not subsequently been used solely or mainly for other purposes.

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