Same-sex marriage, civil partnership conversions and (not quite) equality

8th March 2015 by


Since 29 March 2014 same-sex couples have been able to get married under English and Welsh family law.

Before this time gay and lesbian partners could only be joined in a legal union through a civil partnership agreement.

Once the same-sex marriage laws came into effect, many civil-partnered couples wished to convert their unions to marriage, but, they were unable to do so immediately.

For more information on legal services provided by Healys’ family lawyers in London for same-sex couples, please click here.

Converting a civil-partnership into marriage

In June 2014 it was announced that civil partners would be able to convert their relationships to a married status from December 2014.

Civil-partnered couples must make an appointment at a register office where they will be required to sign a declaration that they both wish to convert their civil-partnership agreement into a marriage. The ceremony will be officiated by a superintendent registrar.

Welcome news for married transgender people

It was also announced that married transgender individuals would be able to change their legal gender without needing to end their marriage, providing their partner agreed. Previously, if a husband and wife had wished to reassign the legal gender of one partner their marriage was no longer recognised and they were required to become civil partners.

Relationship equality? Not just yet

Following a government consultation on the future of civil partnerships under English and Welsh family law, David Cameron PM announced that the government had no plans to allow heterosexual couples to undertake civil partnership agreements.

Many equality campaigners were outraged. Peter Tatchell said, “David Cameron has betrayed the principle of equality by refusing to allow opposite-sex couples to have a civil partnership.

“His government is maintaining legal discrimination against straight partners. In a democracy, we should all be equal before the law.”

Legal services for same-sex and heterosexual couples

Whether you are a gay man who needs legal advice for the drafting of a pre-civil partnership or pre-nuptial agreement, a lesbian who is applying for civil-partnership dissolution or divorce, or you are a member of heterosexual cohabitating partnership which is breaking down, the team of expert family lawyers at Healys in London and Brighton can help.

You can call our offices to day or email your query to and we will call you back.