Changes to the laws in Northern Ireland on marriage and civil partnerships

The UK Government will make regulations that will mean civil marriage between couples of the same-sex, and civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples, will be lawful in Northern Ireland from 13 January 2020.

From that date, we expect that couples will be able to give notice of their intent to form a civil same-sex marriage or opposite-sex civil partnership to the General Register Office for Northern Ireland. The minimum period of notice is usually 28 days.

The UK government plans to publish a consultation on religious same-sex marriage with the intention of making regulations to enable religious same sex marriage in Northern Ireland in 2020. They think it is right that religious organisations, faith groups and individuals are able to give their views on same sex couples marrying in religious ceremonies, just as they did in England, Wales and Scotland. This means that there will be a short delay before introducing religious same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland for those religious organisations that choose to do so.

They also intend to consult on the right to convert a civil partnership to marriage (and vice versa).

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