Same sex civil partnerships can be turned into marriages

Same Sex

Many of the civil partnerships formed by same sex couples over the past decade expected to be converted into marriages

Same sex couples who have entered into civil partnerships will from Wednesday be able to convert them into marriages at a register office.

More than 60,000 partnerships have been formed over the past decade. A significant proportion are expected to take advantage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act which was passed in the summer.

To mark the occasion Transport for London is planning to roll out a rainbow-coloured crossing in Trafalgar Square, near Nelson’s Column.

For the next year all couples who formed their civil partnership before 29 March 2014 (when marriage was extended to same sex couples) will receive a £45 fee reduction – making it free for those who go through the conversion ceremony at a register office.

Those who go on to hold a further ceremony – at a hotel, stately home or in religious premises registered for the marriage of same-sex couples – will have to pay for that separately.

At the time that the same sex marriage act was passed the equalities minister, Nick Boles, said: “I know how important it is for couples to have the option of marriage available to them. This is the final stage in ensuring every couple has the option to be married.

“This puts couples in control. They have the choice of whether they would like a simple conversion or would prefer to celebrate the occasion with a ceremony.”

While same sex couples can now enter into either civil partnerships or marriages, heterosexual couples are still banned from registering a partnership.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent, for The Guardian on Wednesday 10th December 2014 06.00 Europe/London

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