Shadow Equalities Minister Gloria De Piero has asked the Government for clarification on issues surrounding the conversion of civil partnerships to marriage.

Minister for Equalities Sajid Javid earlier today announced that couples already in civil partnerships will be able to convert to marriage by attending a register office from 10 December 2014.

In a letter sent to Mr Javid today, Ms De Piero asks for clarification on issues such as how much it will cost those in civil partnerships to convert.

The Labour shadow minister also expresses disappointment at the length of time of time it took from the passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Marriage) Act, and the date couples already in civil partnerships can convert.

Speaking to PinkNews, Gloria De Piero said: “At last we have a date but after waiting this long, couples will be wondering why they now have to wait another six months to convert their civil partnerships to marriage.

“I’ve written to the Secretary of State to ask him to come forward with the details about how much couples can expect to have to pay for the licence and what the process will be for them to get a marriage certificate.”

The full text of Ms De Piero’s letter is available to read below.

Dear Sajid,

I write following the Government’s announcement of a date for when couples will be able to convert their civil partnerships to marriage.

I’m still unclear about why these provisions have taken so long, and it is disappointing to hear now that couples who have already waited almost a year to set a date to get their marriage certificates will still have to wait a further six months.

I acknowledge your response to my letter dated 1 May, in which you cite ‘changing several IT systems’, ‘delivering guidance and training’, ‘making legislative changes’ and ‘designing new application forms and certificates’ as reasons for this extended delay but I find it surprising that these procedures should take 18 months to implement.

The important thing now will be to ensure that the procedure to gain a marriage certificate will be straightforward and reflect the importance of this process for those couples who undertake it. I’d be grateful if you could let me know:

• How much will it cost couples to convert their civil partnership and how this compares to the cost of replacing a marriage certificate?

• What will be required of couples in Civil Partnerships in order to undertake this procedure and what will they receive to prove their marriage exists?

• What processes are in place to ensure couples wishing to convert can begin to book appointments now to convert their civil partnerships from 10 December?

I know how much this process will mean to many couples who want their civil partnerships to be recognised as marriages both symbolically and on paper and I know you will agree with me how important it is therefore that we ensure the process lives up to this.

Kind regards

Gloria De Piero MP

Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities