B P Collins partner comments on revised laws relating to same-sex civil partnerships

The House of Lords has given the go-ahead to revised laws that will allow same-sex civil partnerships to be converted into marriages. Sue Andrews, family partner and practice group leader, has commented on this ‘long-overdue change’.

It comes after a previous attempt to introduce the regulations failed because they suggested that conversions could only occur in registry offices and no other venues.

Speaking in the Lords, Baroness Thornton said at the time that the original proposals ‘lacked emotional intelligence’.

Ministers have now tweaked the rules to make it possible for conversion ceremonies to take place in any venue that holds a licence to marry same-sex couples.

The House of Lords has consented to the new laws and said the first conversions will take place from 10 December this year.

Baroness Thornton praised the government’s spokeswoman in the House, Baroness Northover, and Nick Boles, the equalities minister, for altering the legislation and for giving same-sex couples in civil partnerships the choice of having a full ceremony or a simple conversion.

Andrews said: ‘Civil partnerships gave same-sex couples the same rights and imposed the same obligations as married couples. However, this long-overdue change means that those civil partners who have a strong desire to be married will at last feel that they do have those same rights and commitment.’