Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Wedding hitch

My suspicions proved correct and yesterday's newspaper headlines were premature. Parliament may need to change the law before Chris Bryant can celebrate his civil partnership in the House of Commons.

As things stand, the Commons is not licensed for civil weddings or partnerships. If it were to obtain a licence, as the law stands, then the venue would have to be available to ordinary members of the public for a certain time. (The Prince Charles/Windsor Castle problem)

The Speaker is keen on opening up his State Rooms for ceremonies for MPs but is not convinced Parliament should go into the mass wedding and civil partnership business.

So it will be up to Parliament to decide whether or not to change the law to allow private ceremonies in the same way only parliamentarians and senior officers can tie the knot in the Chapel of St Mary's Undercroft.

Either way, Chris Bryant and his partner might be advised to sound out an alternative venue or two if they hope to marry next March.

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