Ed Miliband: Today marks another milestone in marriage equality

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Ed Miliband has congratulated all couples converting their civil partnerships to marriage, saying we have “reached another milestone in marriage equality.

From today, all couples have the right to marry in England and Wales, as the first civil partnership conversion ceremonies take place. 

The Labour leader told PinkNews that he is “delighted” that couples can now convert.

He told PinkNews: “I am delighted that today we have reached another milestone in marriage equality. I offer congratulations to all those couples who intend to convert their Civil Partnership to Marriage. I am delighted that because of pressure from Labour in Parliament they can choose to celebrate with a full ceremony anywhere licenced for civil marriage and will also receive a proper marriage certificate to mark their big day.”

When the first same-sex marriages took place on 29 March 2014, couples who were already in a civil partnership were not allowed to marry.

Now, same-sex couples already in a civil partnership can decide if they wish to remain in this legal status or convert to a marriage. Couples already in civil partnerships may opt for a simple conversion at a register office, or a two-stage process, which includes a ceremony at a venue of their choice.

Writing for PinkNews, Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan and Skills and Equalities Minister Nick Boles Marriage said: “Marriage is a universal institution which should be available to all. It is the bedrock of our society and the most powerful expression of commitment that two people can make. While civil partnerships remain an important part of the journey towards legal equality, it is entirely understandable why so many same-sex couples want to be able to enter into the institution of marriage and express their love in the same way as their peers.”

The first same-sex marriages in Scotland take place on New Year’s Eve. Same-sex marriage will remain illegal in Northern Ireland.