What does the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act mean for your civil partnership, and (should you wish to do so) when will you be able to convert your Civil Partnership to Marriage? Linzi Bull from law firm Harbottle & Lewis, sheds some light.
Saturday 29 March is a big day for the LGBT community – and congratulations to all of those planning to take advantage of the provisions in the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act and get married!
Same-Sex Weddings Overseas
It is worth mentioning that if you married your same sex partner overseas and had been treated as civil partners you are now automatically treated as being married in this country. This particular provision of the Act came into force on 13 March 2014.
Gay Marriage UK: Converting Your Civil Partnership to Marriage (UK)
If you are already in a civil partnership entered into in England and Wales (not overseas), the good news is that you will be able to convert your civil partnership to marriage if you wish to do so.
The slightly less good news is that nobody knows when you will be able to do that or what that process will entail. This is because the relevant regulations have not yet been made. Both of those questions will hopefully be resolved over the next few months and the current indication from Equalities Minister Helen Grant, is that you will be able to convert your Civil Partnership by the end of 2014. Fortunately, it is anticipated that the process will be relatively straightforward. Incidentally, it is also hoped that married people wanting to change their gender and obtain their gender recognition certificate whilst remaining married will be able to do so by the end of the year.
Dissolving Your Civil Partnership to Get Married
If you and your civil partner are particularly anxious to get married now, then it appears that you would first need to dissolve your Civil Partnership. Do get legal advice if you are considering this option – with the paperwork and timescale involved with a dissolution, you might find your wedding day would be earlier only by a matter weeks than it would have been otherwise under the conversion process. You may also prefer to spend the money spent on a dissolution on the wedding itself!
Do you have a question for Linzi? Email it to info[at]thegayweddingguide.co.uk or send a tweet to @gaywedguide with the hashtag ‘#legal’.