Tory MP Simon Kirby: Those in civil partnerships must be able to convert to marriage
Tory MP Simon Kirby has contacted Equalities Minister Sajid Javid to push for the faster introduction of legislation to allow couples in civil partnerships to be able to convert to marriage.
Same-sex marriage was introduced on 29 March in England and Wales, but those in civil partnerships were told they would have to wait before they could convert to marriage.
Despite a suggestion by Mr Javid’s predecessor Maria Miller that couples would be able to convert by the end of 2014, no timetable has been published, and that guarantee has not been given.
Mr Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown said, “I was incredibly proud to have worked on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, and that there is now marriage equality in the UK. However, I do understand the frustration of people wishing to convert their civil partnership to a marriage. There are both technical and legal matters that need to be resolved. One involves the Department for Work and Pensions and the other issue relates to the extensive secondary legislation that is required.
“I understand that this is a complicated matter, in particular as the marriage will be back-dated to the commencement of the Civil Partnership, however I hope that this can be introduced very soon, and I have today called on Sajid Javid to press ahead with this matter.”
A day before same-sex marriage took effect in England and Wales, Labour’s shadow Equalities Minister Gloria De Piero wrote an open letter to Maria Miller, then 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 wrote.
Since, Maria Miller’s replacement, Mr Javid, responded, but despite criticism for the length of time it is taking for the new procedures to be put in place, did not give a guarantee that those in civil partnerships would be able to convert by the end of the year.
A Government consultation into the future of civil partnerships closed in April. Some have noted the consultation as a possible reason the Government has not yet made the necessary changes.
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