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Civil partnerships can now be converted into marriages

'Historic legislation' could be the end of the line for civil partnerships

10 December 2014

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From today, there will be no reason why same-sex couples cannot be married with civil partners able to convert their civil partnership into a marriage.

Civil partners now have the choice to convert their civil partnership into a marriage in a local register office or celebrate with a ceremony in approved or religious premises. Couples will be issued with a marriage certificate that shows the marriage should be treated as existing from the date of the original civil partnership.

The minister for equalities, Jo Swinson, called the law a piece of "historic legislation" and, along with the law introduced in March allowing same-sex couples to marry, it had been a "wonderful year to see same-sex couples finally able to celebrate their relationship in the way other couples had done so for centuries".

She added: "This has meant a huge amount of personal joy for gay men and women and their families, and has made our society stronger and fairer."

However, Terrence Trainor, a partner in the family team at Bircham Dyson Bell asked whether it was the end of the line for civil partnerships.

"According to official figures, by the end of 2012 more than 60,000 couples had registered a civil partnership, which has given same sex-couples legal recognition of their relationship since 2005," said Trainor.

"England and Wales went a step further in March this year when a new law was introduced to allow same-sex couples to marry. As a consequence, questions were raised about the future of civil partnerships - why enter into one when you could marry? A wide-sweeping consultation was undertaken to consider the future for civil partnerships, however, given the lack of consensus on the way forward there will be no changes in the foreseeable future."

Laura Clenshaw is managing editor of Solicitors Journal

Categorised in:

Marriage & Civil partnership