This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on marriage. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Standard Notes

08.09.2014Financial provision on the breakdown of a relationship
On the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership, a couple may agree between themselves how to divide their assets and income. This may be embodied in a consent order approved by the court. When agreement is not possible, the court may decide an application for financial provision. In such cases, the court is required by statute to have regard to 'all the circumstances of the case, first consideration being given to the welfare while a minor of any child of the family who has not attained the age of eighteen'.
20.08.2014Pre-nuptial agreements
Pre-nuptial agreements are not automatically enforceable in courts in England and Wales. The Law Commission has recommended the introduction of enforceable 'qualifying nuptial agreements"
22.07.2014Humanist marriage ceremonies
At present, humanist weddings do not have legal force. The Government is consulting on whether the law should be changed to permit non-religious belief marriage ceremonies.
This note deals with the recognition of polygamous marriages; immigration issues; social security benefits and pension entitlement.
28.04.2014Married couple's allowance
Some elderly married couples and civil partners are entitled to the married couple's allowance (MCA). In April 2000 the MCA was withdrawn from all couples, except those who were already 65 or over. This note provides a short explanation of the allowance, and the reasons behind the Government's decision to withdraw it in this way.

Research Papers

15.05.2014Marriage of same sex couples across the UK: What's the same and what's different?
Legislation in England and Wales (the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013) and in Scotland (the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014) introduces marriage for same sex couples. The legislation will also enable civil partners to convert their civil partnership into marriage, and transsexual people to change their legal gender without necessarily having to end their existing marriage.
17.10.2013Immigration Bill
The Immigration Bill would significantly reduce migrants' rights of appeal; restrict access to services including private rented accommodation, bank accounts and NHS services by reference to immigration status; establish new arrangements for investigating sham marriages and examining persons departing the UK; and make various other changes related to immigration controls.
19.03.2013Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill Committee Stage Report
This is a report on the House of Commons Committee Stage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. It complements Research Paper 13/08 prepared for the Commons Second Reading.
01.02.2013Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 24 January 2013 and is due to have its second reading debate on 5 February 2013. It would introduce civil marriage for same sex couples, and enable religious organisations to opt in to conduct same sex marriages if they wish to do so. The Bill includes provisions intended to protect religious organisations and individuals from being forced to conduct same sex marriages. The proposals have proved highly controversial with interested parties expressing strong opinions both for and against same sex marriage. The Bill would also enable civil partners to convert their partnership to a marriage and would enable married transsexual people to gain legal recognition in their acquired gender without having to end their marriage.
20.07.2007Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Bill [HL] Committee Stage Report

Early Day Motions

That this House supports the Faithfulness Matters campaign which affirms that faithfulness between people in committed relationships matters, for individuals, for families, for children ...
That this House welcomes the announcement of a public holiday for the Royal Wedding on 29 April 2011; notes with concern that some employers are not giving their employees the day off; ...
That this House notes that millions of people will need to move around London on the day of the Royal Wedding on 29 April 2011; further notes that many visitors to London and tourists ...
That this House congratulates HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton on their engagement; and wishes them a long and happy marriage.
That this House notes the provisions of the Marriage Act 1949 and the Marriage Act (Scotland) 1977; further notes that these two Acts create a differential standard of recognition for ...

Lords Library Notes

06.02.2014Immigration Bill (HL Bill 84 of 2013-14)
This Library Note provides information on the Immigration Bill, which is due for second reading in the House of Lords on 10 February 2014.
30.05.2013Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill (HL Bill 29 of 2013-14)
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill would extend civil marriage to include same-sex couples and allow those religious organisations who wished to do so to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies. This Library Note provides background reading in advance of the Bill's second reading in the House of Lords on 3 June 2013.
07.02.2011Debate on 10 February: The Role of Marriage and Marriage Support in British Society
This Library Note provides background reading for the debate on the role of marriage and marriage support in British society eleven years after the report on 'Funding for Marriage Support' by Sir Graham Hart.


  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses