Stonewall: It is unacceptable that couples in civil partnerships must wait to convert to marriage

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Leading gay rights charity Stonewall has ramped up its campaign to allow couples in civil partnerships to convert to marriage.

In a message being sent to subscribers today, acting chief executive Ruth Hunt said “marriage equality is not yet a reality”, because those in civil partnerships cannot yet convert to marriage.

Same-sex marriage took effect on 29 March 2014, but those in civil partnerships have been told changes are being made, and that they will be able to convert to marriage by the end of the year.

The message from Ruth Hunt is available to view below:

Last weekend we celebrated a truly momentous occasion in England and Wales. The first same-sex marriages, which took place shortly after midnight on Saturday, were the culmination of decades of relentless campaigning to secure full equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Sadly, for tens of thousands of couples who’ve had their love and commitment recognised by entering into a civil partnership in the past nine years, marriage equality is not yet a reality.

Whilst hundreds of couples have celebrated up and down the country, civil partners are still waiting in limbo for the government to implement a process enabling them to convert to marriage. This is unacceptable.

Stonewall lobbied hard to secure provisions in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act that would enable civil partners to convert to marriage if they want to. Since the Act received Royal Assent in July 2013 we’ve continued to lobby for a simple – and importantly, inexpensive – process to allow this to be implemented.

At present government ministers have pledged that conversions will be able to take place ‘by the end of 2014’. If civil partners have to wait until the end of this year then we’ll see an infuriating delay of 17 months – longer than it even took to implement civil partnerships in 2005 or marriage equality in 2014.

We share your frustration with this delay and we’ll continue pushing ministers and civil servants every single day until conversions can take place.

In a piece published on PinkNews, Ruth Hunt spoke of the importance of celebrating same-sex marriage in England and Wales, but said we must stay mindful of the journey ahead.