Couples in a civil partnership won’t have to pay anything to become legally married, as long as they convert their union within a certain time period.
The conversion needs to take place within the 12 months after December 10 in order for couples to avoid the £45 fee. Moreover, it only applies to civil partnership before March 29 this year, as that’s the date when same-sex couples were finally allowed to get married in England and Wales, reports bbc.co.uk.
Culture secretary and minister for equalities Sajid Javid made the announcement, but the policy was jointly formed by the Home Office and the department for culture, media and sport.
Speaking to pinknews.co.uk, Mike Freer, Conservative Party vice chairman for equalities, says the fact the government is allowing people to convert their civil partnerships for free reflects its commitment to equality.
“Whilst the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act was a major milestone, today’s announcement makes marriage a reality for the many people already in civil partnerships,” he explains. “I have lobbied the chancellor and culture secretary for some time on this issue and I am delighted that they have acted.”
In order to convert their union, couples can visit a registry office after December 10 to do so. Of course, there’s nothing stopping them having a second wedding too.