If We Already Have A Civil Partnership Should We Marry?
Civil partnerships are not being replaced, so it won’t be a case of marriage or bust. Same-sex couples in England and Wales (and Scotland soon after) will have
the right to choose between the two.
As Civil Partners Are We Expected To Marry?
If you already have a civil partnership then you have 4 options:
- In terms of legal entitlement the Civil Partnership Act pretty
much nailed it. If you’re happy then why change anything? You could stay in a
civil partnership forever without the need to convert to marriage.
- You could
wait and see. A civil partnership shouldn't be seen as a diet marriage or as
something that needs to be upgraded immediately. Revisit the issue a few years
from now and see how you feel.
- You can convert your partnership into marriage.
For most gay couples the two terms have always been interchangeable. All you’ll
need to do is fill in a form and pay a small fee. The downside to this however,
is that you’ll have to wait until the end of the year. The Government will need
time to train staff and update their systems in order to cope with the
bureaucratic implosion the extra paperwork is likely to cause.
- Finally, you
could dissolve your civil partnership and then marry. This is the only
immediate option for those already in a partnership. It means going through the
courts and paying some relatively large fees to them, but it does mean you’d be
free to go ahead. However, as it can take around six months to process, your
best bet is probably just to wait.
The temptation is to see marriage as the gold standard: this isn’t true. The greatest thing to come out of all the legislation is that gay couples now have choice. Therefore, if you do decide to claim your right to marriage then consider it a horizontal conversion rather than a commitment upgrade. Civil partnerships may lack the punch of language, but they more than hold their own legally.