Discrimination between marriage and civil partnerships licences

Feb 13, 2013

Just over a week ago, the Guardian published an article which raised my hackles!

Is this fair?

Apparently, although it only costs £120 anywhere in the country to obtain a marriage licence, some English councils are charging huge sums for a three-year civil partnership licence.

As much as £8,000 a time is being demanded in some cases, and in all (or most)  a lot more than £120.

Naturally, religious institutions are being priced out of offering such ceremonies.


Whether it is a question of discrimination or, more probably, just the chance to make ‘a quick buck’, this seems pretty pernicious to me.

Normally, hotels and other commercial venues pay much more for short-term marriage licences than places of worship. Now civil partnership licences will cost places of worship the same as commercial venues.

So what?

Consequently, many churches and synagogues are pulling out of civil partnership ceremonies altogether. As one rabbi, Aaron Goldstein, said, “it feels a bit like being penalised for something that should be a right in society.”

Whether or not you approve of civil partnerships, they are legal since 2010– and should certainly not be viewed as a revenue-growing opportunity.


I am a celebrant based in London.