Sir Elton John and David Furnish have announced plans to marry this May. However, the government has warned that civil partners will be unlikely to be allowed to marry until much later in 2014.
Furnish told the Las Vegas Review Journal: “We don’t feel the need to take an extra step legally. But since we’re committed for life, we feel it’s really important to take that step, and take advantage of that amazing change in legislation. We all live by example.”
Sir Elton’s civil partner told the newspaper that their civil partnership saw 650 guests attend, but that when they marry it will be different: “With the kids, everything is different. I think what we’ll do is go to a registry office in England in May, and take the boys with us, and a couple of witnesses.”
Unfortunately for Sir Elton and Furnish, same-sex couples in civil partnerships are not currently allowed to convert their relationship to a marriage. The government has warned that it is unlikely to allow conversions until the latter part of 2014.
Writing for PinkNews, the Culture Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Maria Miler said: “I’m very much aware that there are couples who are already in a civil partnership and who may be disappointed that they will have to wait a little longer to be able to convert to a marriage. I’d like to reassure them that we are working hard to ensure that this process is in place by the end of year.
“It’s taking longer because we need to introduce completely new procedures and processes. This contrasts with the work to make new marriages for same-sex couples possible, where we have been able to build on existing processes so implementation is much more straightforward.
“I didn’t think we should delay the first marriages of same-sex couples from happening just because civil partnership conversions can’t happen as quickly.”
The only way for a civil partnered couple to marry is to first dissolve their relationship and then marry. However, this would mean that for a period of time, they will not be covered by the protections of either a marriage or a civil partnership which could mean a hefty tax bill if one partner dies during the intervening period.