On the day same-sex marriages were finally allowed in England and Wales, many civil partners wanted an answer to this question. So did many gay rights campaigners, MPs, and solicitors specialising in family law.
If you have any legal queries about same-sex marriage, prenuptial agreements, or you want to seek dissolution of a civil-partnership which has broken down, the family lawyers at Healys LLP in London and Brighton can help.
Please fill in our short Call Back Form, on the left-hand side of this page, and we will contact you to discuss your enquiry in more detail.
Confusion for civil partners
On the date of the first gay weddings, 29 March 2014, those couples who had already entered into a civil-partnership agreement, previously the only means to having their relationship recognised in English and Welsh family law, were left “in limbo” as the Government had failed to put in place a suitable means for conversion.
As the law stood, if a civil partner wished to get married, they would have had to seek dissolution of the civil partnership.
Fundamentally, to dissolve a civil partnership the couple must prove that the relationship has irretrievably broken down, and clearly many civil partners in March 2014 were still in loving, continuing relationships.
The Government had promised to set up the means for civil-partners to convert their civil partnership agreement to a marriage without the need for dissolution, but this was not in place on the date the first gay marriages went ahead.
Campaigners’ dismay at conversion confusion
A message from Ruth Hunt, acting chief executive of leading gay rights charity Stonewall, was published shortly after the first day of same-sex weddings.
In it she said that while March 29 was indeed a “truly momentous occasion in England and Wales”, marriage equality was still not a reality for the many couples who had entered into a civil partnership.
She described the couples as “waiting in limbo” while the Government sought to implement a process for conversion – a wait which Stonewall saw as “unacceptable”.
At the time, Government ministers pledged to ensure that a process would be in place by the end of 2014, but in the meantime, many homosexual and lesbian couples were left dismayed and angered by the delay.
Do you need to formally end a same-sex relationship?
Whether you are married, civil-partnered, or living with your same-sex partner, if your relationship has broken down, the family lawyers at Healys provide an expert, yet sensitive, legal service to help you through this difficult time.
Please call our offices in London or Brighton or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.