Parliament is shortly expected to approve regulations that will allow existing couples in civil partnerships to convert that civil partnership into a marriage.
From 10 December 2014, couples can covert their civil partnership into a marriage simply by attending at a local register office and providing evidence of their identity and their civil partnership. Of course, this doesn’t stop couples from entering into more elaborate celebrations at other registered venues, including religious premises, to mark that special occasion.
For a period of one year, couples who entered into a civil partnership before 29 March 2014 will be exempt from paying the £45 fee to covert their civil partnership into a marriage.
Once the conversion has taken place, couples will be issued with a marriage certificate. Importantly, this will show that the marriage should be backdated to the date when the original civil partnership took place.
Since same sex marriage was introduced on 29 March 2014, there were over 1400 marriages between same sex couples up to the end of June 2014. Statistics dating back to the end of 2012 revealed that there were nearly 60,500 couples in civil partnerships. Given the time limited ‘free offer’ to covert a civil partnership, registry offices and other venues could be set for a busy 12 months or so.