Question to the Ministry of Defence:
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress has been made in allowing (a) civil marriage, (b) civil partnership and (c) same-sex marriage ceremonies at Ministry of Defence sites.
Defence is proud of all our LGBT+ personnel and the significant contributions they make to ensure our security, support our national interests, and safeguard our prosperity. We are committed to creating an inclusive, respectful and welcoming organisation for all personnel from all faiths and beliefs.
In England and Wales, neither Civil Marriage nor Civil Partnerships (for opposite sex or same sex couples) currently occur on the Defence Estates due to security considerations associated with the requirements for ongoing public access to buildings registered for this purpose. Defence will continually work together with other Government Departments to look at how restrictions can be removed to make the policy more inclusive.
As marriage is a devolved issue in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the rules differ. Civil Marriage or Civil Partnerships on Defence Estates are at the discretion of the Heads of Establishment. Civil Partnerships and Civil Marriages do occur on Defence estates outside the UK, such as in Germany and Cyprus and will comply with host countries’ laws or the Sovereign Base Regulations.
In line with the Marriage of Same Sex Couples (Use of Armed Forces’ Chapels) Regulations 2014, same-sex couples have been able to marry in Armed Forces Chapels since 2014. To date, three same-sex couple marriages have taken place in Armed Forces Chapels since June 2014, two in England and one in Cyprus.