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Civil partnership in a religious building

It is possible for same sex couples to hold a civil partnership ceremony in a religious building that has been licensed by the local authority.

There are currently no religious buildings in Surrey licensed to hold civil partnerships.

Legislation enables a civil partnership registrar from the district register office to attend a licensed religious building in their district to form the civil partnership by signing the civil partnership schedule with the couple and their witnesses. Your religious ceremony can then follow.

To book a civil partnership at a religious building, you should first contact the minister or person in charge of civil partnerships at the building to discuss their availability and fees. You will also need to contact the local register office to book the registrar. A locally set fee will be payable for the registrar to attend.

Before the ceremony can take place, you must complete the usual legal preliminaries by giving notice of civil partnership to the superintendent registrar in the district(s) where you live. Notice must be given at least 28 clear days before the civil partnership ceremony. For example, if notice is given on 1 July the partnership may take place on or after 30 July.

On the day of your ceremony, the registrar will first conduct pre-formation interviews with each of you and ensure you have both read and understood the legal declarations. The registrar will then form the legal civil partnership with you both together and in the presence of your two witnesses. Your religious ceremony can then take place.

There is no requirement for a ceremony to be conducted or promises/rings to be exchanged, this can be done at your religious ceremony afterwards. It is therefore important that you allow enough time for the civil partnership formation to be completed in its entirety, as the registrar is not permitted to attend the religious ceremony and must depart before any other ceremony can proceed.