The introduction of the Marriage (Same-Sex-Couples) Act 2013 legalised same-sex marriage in England and Wales. Civil partnership ceremonies can still be performed for same-sex couples but carry different legal rights and obligations. More information can be found on the UK Government website.
If you wish to have a civil partnership ceremony, the process is similar to a civil marriage, but you will need to mention you want a civil partnership ceremony when you book Registrars and at your legal notice appointment.
Couples in a civil partnership can have it converted to a marriage (retrospectively) with or without a ceremony.
Couples wishing to form an opposite sex Civil Partnership
The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Act which received Royal Assent on 26 March 2019 contains provisions for regulations to be made to extend eligibility for forming a civil partnership to opposite sex couples. The exact implementation date is not yet confirmed but the regulations must be in force by 31 December 2019. The regulations are being drafted by the Government Equalities Office as the department responsible for the Civil Partnership Act 2004.
Based on the current position the earliest date for taking a notice will be 31 December, with the first opposite sex civil partnerships under the standard procedure able to be formed on 29 January 2020. Couples should also be made aware that 31 December is the deadline by which the regulations must be in force but it is possible the implementation date could be earlier. An earlier implementation would mean that notices would be able to be given ahead of 31 December and civil partnerships formed earlier than 29 January 2020 and we will be happy to take earlier bookings if and when we are advised of an earlier implementation date.
If there are changes to this position, we will update this page as soon as we become aware of them.