Gloria De Piero: Restrictions on civil partnership conversion are ‘discriminatory and unfair’
Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Gloria De Piero has voiced concern over the regulations for converting civil partnerships to marriage, where the ceremonies can take place, and a lack of a marriage certificate for those couples.
According to Ms De Piero, the regulations, however, state that couples can only convert to marriage in a register office with a Superintendent Registrar present, which exempts many register offices and all religious venues.
In a letter addressed to newly appointed Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan, Ms De Piero also states “serious concern” over the fact that couples will also not be issued a marriage licence on converting, only a slip saying the conversion has taken place.
She writes: “For so many couples across the country, the conversion of their civil partnership will be a moment no less important to them as to those getting married for the first time.
“Why has the Government chosen to place such restrictions on civil partnership conversions?”
Concluding, Ms De Piero calls the regulations “both discriminatory and unfair”, and asks the Government to consider amending the regulations before they are approved, offering the support of Labour to do so.
As the Loughborough MP voted against same-sex marriage last year, openly gay junior Conservative minister Nick Boles has been given specific responsibilities for same-sex marriage and LGBT equality
The full letter to Nicky Morgan from Gloria De Piero is available to read below.
I am writing with serious concern about the procedure the government is proposing for couples to convert their civil partnerships to marriage, having been contacted now by a number of couples.
I am aware that the regulations the Government have produced specify that couples wishing to convert their civil partnerships may only do so in a Register Office with a Superintendent Registrar present, rather than in all offices where civil marriages for opposite-sex couples can take place, and will not receive a marriage certificate.
For couples who have contacted me, and many others, this will present significant barriers, both in terms of cost and the difficulty of getting to a County Register Office. This means many will not be able to hold this ceremony in the presence of all the loved ones and friends they wish to be there.
Moreover, denying couples the right to convert their civil partnerships in any other venue available to same sex marriage ceremonies will also stop them being able to ‘shape’ this ceremony in a way that is meaningful for them.
For so many couples across the country, the conversion of their civil partnership will be a moment no less important to them as to those getting married for the first time.
Why has the Government chosen to place such restrictions on civil partnership conversions?
And why does the Government not see fit to allow couples to commemorate the day of their marriage as every other couple may, with a marriage certificate?
I would suggest that such a restriction is both discriminatory and unfair and would ask that you withdraw and amend the draft regulations laid before Parliament immediately before they are debated for approval. I offer you my full commitment that Labour will work with the Government to ensure the revised regulations are approved by Parliament as quickly as possible.
With kind regards,
Gloria De Piero MP
Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities
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