Updated Friday morning
The Minister for Equalities, Sajid Javid , has announced the date from which those in civil partnerships will be able to convert them into marriages, if they so wish. The date is 10 December. The announcement was made in an article for Pink News: Sajid Javid: I am pleased to announce that couples can soon convert civil partnerships to marriage.
We’ve made the process of conversion as straightforward as possible. Couples will simply have to attend a Register Office and sign a declaration that they both wish to convert their Civil Partnership to a marriage in front of the Superintendent Registrar. That’s it.
Mr Javid also said:
From 10 December there is also good news for married transgender people. You will now be able to change your legal gender without ending your marriage, provided you and your husband or wife agree to remain married.
This is the report on the conclusions of the review of civil partnership in England and Wales required under section 15 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. It includes a summary of the responses to the consultation which was carried out as part of the review. Given the lack of consensus on the way forward for civil partnership, the Government will not be making any changes.
So civil partnerships will continue to be available, but only to same-sex couples.
And the Ministry of Justice started a consultation on Marriages by non-religious belief organisations.
Section 14 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 requires a review to be carried out of whether the law should be changed to permit marriages by non-religious belief organisations.
The consultation asks if there is a substantial case for changing the law to establish non-religious belief ceremonies. This would allow a third type of legal ceremony, alongside religious and civil ceremonies, for getting married in England and Wales.
Section 14 defines a belief organisation as ‘an organisation whose principal or sole purpose is the advancement of a system of non-religious beliefs which relate to morality or ethics’.
The consultation also seeks views on
- which non-religious belief organisations are capable of meeting the definition
- where, if allowed, such marriages would take place
- the provision of safeguards to deal with any resulting risks
- the equality impacts.
There is further discussion of these announcements, and some others, at Law & Religion UK in Same sex marriage and civil partnership: update.