Same sex couples converting their civil partnerships will be issued backdated marriage certificates

Published: 8th October 2014

The Government Equalities Office has confirmed that they have scrapped plans for a 'certificate of conversion' and will instead issue backdated marriage certificates to same-sex couples wanting to convert their civil partnership into a marriage.

A spokesperson from the Government Equalities Office said, "It has always been the Government’s intention that a marriage certificate will be issued."

"The design of the certificate has been developed in discussion with the LGBT Consortium and Stonewall and it will be almost identical to a marriage certificate issued without a conversion, but there will be a few necessary differences."

"For example, to ensure that there is no doubt that the marriage is to be treated as having subsisted since the date the original civil partnership was formed, as required by the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, the marriage certificate will show the ‘when married’ date as the date the original civil partnership was formed."

"The certificate will also show the date the conversion took place."

"This will ensure that there is no confusion over why the ‘when married’ date could be earlier than the first date it became legal for same sex couples to marry in England and Wales."

The conversion of civil partnerships to same-sex marriages will take place on 10th December 2014 and is set to end months of confusion and speculation surround the conversion.

Same-sex marriages became legal on Saturday 29th March 2014, however couples in civil partnerships were told that in order to marry, they must first dissolve their existing partnership, prompting a backlash from many same-sex couples, as well as from equal rights organisations.

A leader from the Out4Marriage campaign said, "Many couples in civil partnerships were left puzzled why they were banned from entering into a marriage when the first same-sex weddings in England and Wales took place on the 29th March of this year. They can now plan the celebrations of their love in confidence, knowing that as of the 10th December, all couples, regardless of gender, will have the right to marry".

We reported last month in a previous blog that since the introduction of the new Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act on 29th March, there has been a large number of same sex couples taking up the new option to get married, with 1,409 marriages taking place between 29th March and 30th June 2014.

K J Smith Solicitors have a team of family law specialists with years of experience in dealing with every aspect of Civil Partnership dissolutions. For more information or to arrange a free consultation, contact us on 01491 630000 (Henley on Thames), 020 7070 0330 (London), 0118 418 1000 (Reading), 01753 325000 (Windsor) or 01256 584000 (Basingstoke).

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