Shadow Equalities Minister: It is unclear why it is taking so long to allow civil partnerships to be converted to marriage

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

With the first same-sex weddings due to take place tomorrow in England and Wales, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Gloria De Piero has pushed Maria Miller on the issue of converting civil partnerships to marriage.

Same-sex couples in England and Wales will be able to legally marry from tomorrow (29 March), and those married abroad are now legally recognised. Some couples have been allowed to marry early if one member is in the armed forces or terminally ill.

Couples in civil partnerships have been told they will need to wait longer, however, and no date has been set to allow couples to convert to marriage, should they wish.

Ms De Piero has written an open letter to Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, to urge her to “publish a clear timetable” for the changes to be made, in order to allow those in civil partnerships to convert.

“It is unclear why these provisions are taking so long to implement”, she writes.

She also discusses issues faced by trans people wishing to change their legal gender who are already married.

Equalities Minister Helen Grant last month confirmed that same-sex couples who are in civil partnerships in England and Wales will be able to convert them to marriages by the end of 2014.

Many have expressed disappointment at the announcement, and the lack of a date set for the secondary legislation to be implemented.

Gloria De Piero’s letter is available to read below.

Dear Maria,

This is an exciting time for all those who have waited for the right to get married. On Saturday, same-sex couples across England and Wales will be able to walk down the aisle with the person they love.

Hundreds of happy couples are now planning for the big day, but regrettably the wait continues for those in Civil Partnerships who wish to make the conversion to marriage, and for those married couples waiting for provisions to be implemented to enable them to change their legal gender whilst remaining married.

To date, the only guidance Ministers have been able to give couples is that they expect to implement the remaining clauses before the end of the year. When my colleague, Sharon Hodgson MP, Labour’s Shadow Equalities Minister,​ pressed Equalities Minister Helen Grant MP on this issue recently in the House of Commons , the Minister responded only that she was ‘optimistic’ that this would be the case.

It is unclear why these provisions are taking so long to implement and I urge you now to ensure that the remaining legislation is brought before Parliament without further delay and to publish a clear timetable for doing so.

This weekend let us give all those couples to whom the right to marriage was extended with the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act a reason to celebrate by fixing a date for the remaining provisions.

Gloria De Piero MP

Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities