August 10, 2013

IconShould you convert your Civil Partnership to a Marriage? What a proposition!

You can legally marry your wife now, but do you really want to?

Women have been calling their significant others ‘wife’ for a long time. In fact, since long before it was even conceivable that we would one day be allowed to make a legal, lifelong commitment.

Now, after all the campaigning and fighting we have eventually won the right to marry our same sex partners, and therefore legitimately become wives. However, just because we now have the right to be married does not mean that everyone will automatically want to marry their partner. In fact, as members of the LGBT community we are actually in the rare situation where we have options; legitimate and legal options.

Marriage or Civil Partnership?

If you are in the position that you want to commit to your partner and haven’t done so formally, you get the choice between getting married and getting civil partnered. Yes that’s right, you get more choice than straight couples, which has become a bit of a bone of contention to many a straight person. This is apparently because it will cost a lot of money to do away with CPs, and not because anyone thought gay people should have more choice.  But whatever the reason, it does leave us a choice and it is a perfectly acceptable option to have a CP instead of a marriage.

Help I’m civil partnered! What are my options?

This is a very good question. Many of us wanted to show our commitment to our partners without waiting for equality to catch up. So now we are civil partnered we are faced with the dilemma of what to do next.

Here are the possibilities:

Stay civil partnered – if you’re already committed and happy with your relationship, happy with the rights you have as civil partners and generally happy with life then it’s a pretty good idea to stick with what you’re already doing. To be a bit clichéd – “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Just because you can get married doesn’t mean you have to.

Convert your CP to a marriage – there will be an option to simply convert your CP to a marriage. This is great option for people who want the added benefits of being married but do to want to have a ceremony. This option has caused a few raised eyebrows because, even though the process hasn’t been determined yet, it is assumed that people will be able to convert their CP to a marriage simply by filling in an application form. Some people seem to think this is wrong because gay people will be able to get married in secret and won’t even have to be in the same room. It seems to have been overlooked that same sex couples often don’t want to hide their relationships and will already have been through a ceremony in which they have exchanges various vows to love each other and generally stay together for a very long time.

Use the conversion as an excuse to party – if you want to have another ceremony then you will be more than welcome to. The effect of converting your CP to a marriage will be that your CP comes to an end and your marriage will actually exist from the date that you got civil partnered. So technically you will still only have one anniversary. If you want to celebrate twice a year though I’m sure no-one will stop you. You could also use the marriage to put right anything that went wrong at your CP ceremony, i.e. don’t invite the exes that decided to declare their undying love for you, let your grandparents know you’re marrying a woman before they arrive, remind your hetro male friends that lesbians are not a challenge, so that this time it runs super smoothly.

Dissolve your partnership and get married afresh – marriage is scheduled to be available to same sex couples from spring 2014. The conversion of CPs to marriages is apparently going to be longer as creating forms is clearly an arduous task. If after waiting all this time you simply cannot wait any longer to wed your wife then you can always dissolve your CP and opt to get married as soon as possible. This is potentially a dangerous option – asking your partner for a dissolution is not usually the beginning of a great and romantic proposal. However, if this is what you want then go ahead and good luck!

2 Responses to Should you convert your Civil Partnership to a Marriage? What a proposition!

  1. Neptune says:

    I came across this because I was looking for additional information on transferring our UK CP to marriage. Marriage is important to those of us in bi national relationships. My British CP and I want to go back to the US to live. The US just overturned DOMA
    in June-but we have to be married- not just CP’ed for immigration purposes in the US. UK CPs have the same rights as marriage in the UK- the discrimination is that people have not wanted to call it marriage- because it might “taint” marriage for the straight. I immigrated to the UK from the US because your CPs allow immigration. In the US CPs do not come with the same rights as marriage- immigration being one of the rights that comes with marriage.At this point since marriage is already legal in some states in the US- I can sponsor her as my fiance- she can come over get married and immigrate. Sounds backward but it might end up being faster than waiting until next summer to marry here- or wait for the transfer of CPs.

    • House says:

      Neptune – I’m in the EXACT same boat as you except I am the British CP, living in the US with my American CP. With an open end to when the forms will be ready, it just seems to make more sense to get married in the US.

Sara Newnes

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