A review of marriage and divorce law in England and Wales?

The Times reports (£) that the new Justice Secretary, David Gauke, has agreed to look again at the case for ‘no-fault’ divorce. According to the report, he told the paper:

“I know The Times has campaigned vigorously for reform of family law, including fault-based divorce, and a number of respected figures have voiced their support for change. I acknowledge the strength of feeling on this issue and will study the evidence for change.”

However, he added that he would not “rush to a conclusion”. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 4th February

The week in which Rose Wild gave the blog a name-check (£, alas) in The Times…

…but we can give you unlimited free access to our original post, Paganism, religion and human rights.

Education and social cohesion and HM Chief Inspector

On Thursday, Amanda Spielman, HM Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills, made a speech at the conference of the Church of England Foundation for Education Leadership. Perhaps her major concern was the need to ensure that schools upheld “fundamental British values” and equality. She called for “a muscular liberalism” that had “no truck for ideologies that want to close minds or narrow opportunity”. We summarised her speech here, to which the CofE Press Release of the conference made only passing reference.

Marriage certification Continue reading

Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill

The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill was read a second time yesterday, 2 February, with qualified Government support: the Member in charge of the bill, Tim Loughton, had evidently come to an agreement with the Home Office about amendments to be tabled in committee. Continue reading

Same-sex marriage, civil partnership and the Austrian Constitutional Court

Readers will no doubt remember the outcome of Schalk and Kopf v Austria [2010] ECHR 1996, in which the ECtHR ruled that there was no right under the Convention for same-sex couples to marry. It held that, in the absence of same-sex marriage in Austria, the possibility of entering a registered partnership satisfied the requirements of Article 12 ECHR (right to marry and found a family).

The Constitutional Court of Austria [Verfassungsgerichtshof] has just taken precisely the opposite view. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 26th November

A week in which marriage and cohabitation were much in the news and GAFCON claimed its first scalp (or should that be bonnet?) in Scotland…

Unrecognised religious marriages

A survey for The Truth about Muslim Marriage, a documentary broadcast on Channel 4 on Tuesday, suggested that as many as 200,000 Muslim couples may be living in unregistered marriages. The survey of 923 Muslim women revealed that while 78 per cent wanted their marriages to be legally valid, 61 per cent had had a nikah ceremony only. It also suggested that some 28 per cent of those women who had married in a nikah ceremony were unaware that it did not give them the same rights and protections as a legally-recognised marriage. Continue reading

Opposite-sex partnerships and the ECHR: Ratzenböck and Seydl

Background

In Ratzenböck and Seydl v Austria [2017] ECHR 947, the applicants, Helga Ratzenböck and Martin Seydl, complained that, as a heterosexual couple, they were denied access to a registered partnership, a legal institution only available to same-sex couples.

In February 2010, they had lodged an application to become registered partners under the Registered Partnership Act 2009 [Eingetragene Partnerschaft-Gesetz] but the Mayor of Linz had refused their application because the registered partnership was reserved for same-sex couples only; and their appeal, alleging discrimination based on their sex and sexual orientation, was dismissed by the Upper Austrian Regional Governor. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 22nd October

A week in which the main theme seemed to be discrimination on grounds of gender or sexual orientation

Church of England to debate blessings for same-sex couples?

Last week, as we noted, the Hereford Diocesan Synod passed a resolution requesting the House of Bishops to initiate the formulation of a discretionary liturgy for use following the registration of a civil partnership or a same-sex marriage. The BBC subsequently reported this under the headline Church of England to discuss same-sex blessing, stating that “The general synod will now debate a form of service described as ‘neither contrary to nor a departure from’ the doctrine of the church”. Continue reading