Nick Boles, the minister with responsibility for same-sex marriage, has said his own civil partner is “insistently” pushing for their right to convert to a marriage.
The gay Tory MP was given specific responsibility for same-sex marriage in July’s reshuffle, under Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan, and has in recent months been in charge of finalising plans for the ability to convert civil partnerships to marriages.
The First Delegated Legislation Committee heard the plans on Monday, while approving the final pieces of groundwork necessary for conversions to begin on December 10 as planned.
Mr Boles said: “It is probably right for me to declare an interest, because I am in a civil partnership and my other half has been pressing me, somewhat insistently, for the opportunity to do what many of his friends have already done, which is to enter into a marriage.
“I hope therefore that the Committee will solve that little problem at home for me, as well as for many other people.
He added: “There has been a lot of discussion about the proposals over the summer, since we first laid draft instruments in July that people felt were too restrictive.”
The regulations provide flexibility. If the couple want, the procedure may be completed in one visit to the superintendent registrar.
“Alternatively, however, the couple may go to the superintendent registrar with the required evidence and complete the conversion into marriage by signing the declaration in the place where a ceremony is to be held.
The committee also repealed part of the original act, specifying that “marriages of same-sex couples solemnised in England and Wales are treated as civil partnerships in Scotland” – no longer required thanks to Scotland recognising same-sex marriage from next month.
The proposals were approved by the committee without a vote.
Couples wishing to convert their civil partnerships into marriages will be able to do so in England and Wales from December 10.