HL Deb 08 July 2004 vol 663 cc43-4WS
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin):

On 10 July 2003 the Government published the consultation paper, Civil Registration: Delivering Vital Change. This set out our proposals to reform civil registration in England and Wales using powers in the Regulatory Reform Act 2001. It remains our intention, as the Financial Secretary to the Treasury announced on 29 March this year, to bring forward two orders under the Regulatory Reform Act 2001. One, planned for this Session of Parliament, will amend the current legislation on birth and death registration. The second, on marriage law, has been deferred to enable us to take into account Parliament's wishes on civil partnership legislation.

Preliminary consideration of the responses to Civil Registration: Delivering Vital Change suggests that there is an issue regarding the proposals for marriage on which there should be further consultation. The issue concerns the absence of any proposal to change the legal requirement for marriage ceremonies to be either civil or religious. Policy in this area of marriage law is the responsibility of the Department for Constitutional Affairs. In the coming months and in consultation with others, we will be working with Treasury Ministers and the General Register Office for England and Wales to determine the scope of any revised proposals.