Published: 2 July 2014
The Government announced last week that they have finally set a date for the conversion of civil partnerships to same-sex marriages, which will happen on 10th December 2014. However, they have also announced that civil partnerships won't be offered as an option to heterosexual couples.
This announcement will come as a cause for celebration to those who are already in civil partnerships, as there has been a lot of confusion surrounding their conversion to same-sex marriages, following the new Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, which came into force on Saturday 29th March.
One of the leaders of the Out4Marriage campaign commented, saying: "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. Today’s news means that 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"
A committee had to create brand new procedures for the registration of same-sex marriages, which in turn, effected their status in shared religious buildings, as well as procedures for same-sex marriages overseas and occupational pension changes.
We reported back in March that human rights campaigners were putting pressure on the government to alter their plans for equal marriage, so that straight couples have the option to enter into a civil partnership. This would mean that they would have similar legal rights to married couples - without having to get married.
At the 2010 Lib Dem Party Conference, a policy was passed supporting equal marriages and civil partnerships for all, regardless of sexual orientation. But following a 12-week consultation by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) - who were canvassing opinions on the future of civil partnerships - an announcement has been made which states that same-sex couples will be able to choose between a civil partnership and a same-sex marriage, yet heterosexual couples will only have the option to get married.
A spokesperson for the DCMS said, "Civil partnerships were created for a very specific reason – to give same-sex couples access to legal rights at a time when society was not ready to give them access to marriage."
We also reported on a previous story about a couple from Barnsley who had planned to get married once the new Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act became active, only to be told that they would have to dissolve their civil partnership first before they could enter into a same-sex marriage.
K J Smith Solicitors have a vast amount of expertise in dealing with issues that arise with civil partnerships. If you wish to discuss your circumstances to see how we can help, contact our team today on on 01491 630000 (Henley on Thames), 0118 418 1000 (Reading), 01753 325000 (Windsor), or 020 7070 0330 (Central London).