Process for converting civil partnerships to same sex marriages announced by government
Same sex marriages have been legal in England and Wales for the past six months. The date at which couples in civil partnerships can choose to convert their union into a marriage is fast approaching, with the first conversions taking place on 10th December 2014.
Same sex marriage conversion process announced
Until now, however, it has been unclear how those conversions would actually take place. There has been some concern that the proposed method, whereby a couple would receive a conversion certificate, was heartless and not in the spirit of a couple entering into a loving, life-long union together. There were also concerns that the conversion certificate would not be recognised if the couple travelled abroad in the same way that a traditional marriage certificate would be.
The week has seen good news for couples wishing to convert in that the government has announced that rather than a conversion certificate, each couple will receive a marriage certificate, backdated to the date the civil partnership took place.
The certificate has been developed in conjunction with the LGBT Consortium and Stonewall, the LGBT rights charity, and will vary only slightly from an opposite sex marriage certificate. The certificate will show the date of the conversion but under the ‘when married’ section the date of the partnership ceremony will be entered. This will leave no doubt that the marriage exists legally from that date.
Only partnerships registered in the UK can be converted and a fee of £45 is payable. However the fee is waived for one year for any couple who entered into a civil partnership prior to same sex marriage being legalised. The process involves both couples signing a declaration.
Couples who wish to convert will be able to do so at their local Registry Office. Some offices are offering a ceremony for couples after they sign the declaration. You can find your local office here: https://www.gov.uk/register-offices