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Religious ceremonies permitted for same-sex marriage conversions

by
24 October 2014

by a staff reporter

iSTOCK

SAME-SEX couples will be able to convert their civil partnerships into marriages in a ceremony at a religious venue, after revised guidelines were laid before Parliament.

The Government announced the altered guidelines after thousands of people signed a petition calling for couples converting their partnerships to marriage to be allowed a wedding ceremony.

The original guidelines had allowed for only a simple conversion to take place in a register office with a Superintendent Registrar present (News, 1 August).

The Government said that the "landmark change" would allow couples in existing civil partnerships to convert them into a marriage from 10 December this year, and celebrate with a ceremony in a venue of their choice.

Couples will be issued with a marriage certificate, which will show that the marriage should be treated as existing from the date of the original civil partnership.

The Minister for Skills and Equalities, Nick Boles, said: "I know how important it is for couples to have the option of marriage available to them. This is the final stage in ensuring every couple has the option to be married.

"This puts couples in control. They have the choice of whether they would like a simple conversion, or would prefer to celebrate the occasion with a ceremony."

Only religious premises registered for marriages of same-sex couples will be allowed to participate. Mr Boles said that the amended guidelines did not affect the protections enshrined in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, which protects the Church of England and other faith groups from being forced to solemnise same-sex marriages.

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