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Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013

Section 9 – Conversion of civil partnership into marriage

55.Section 9(1) enables civil partners who had their partnership formed in England and Wales to have their partnership converted into a marriage, and provides a power for the Secretary of State to make regulations establishing the procedures for doing so. The use of this power is subject to the affirmative parliamentary procedure on first use of the power and the negative procedure thereafter.

56.Subsections (2) and (3) provide a power for the Secretary of State to make regulations establishing procedures for conversion of civil partnerships formed outside the United Kingdom under an Order in Council made under Chapter 1 of Part 5 of the Civil Partnership Act which deals with civil partnerships registered at British consulates or by armed forces personnel. Subsection (3) makes clear that this applies where England and Wales is the relevant part of the United Kingdom for the purposes of registration of the civil partnership under the respective Order. The use of this power is subject to the affirmative parliamentary procedure.

57.Subsections (4) and (5) set out the scope of the regulation-making powers, including regulations about:

  • the application procedure for conversion;

  • the information required to support the application;

  • declarations to support an application to convert (for example, by the civil partners themselves);

  • a requirement for applicants to appear for example before a local registrar or at a register office, in order, for example, to validate their identity;

  • conferral of functions in connection with applications to convert on, for example, the Secretary of State, the Registrar General, armed forces personnel, or other persons. These functions include record-keeping; issuing certified copies of records; conducting civil ceremonies or services following conversion into a marriage;

  • application fees and fees for connected functions.

58.Under subsection (6), the completed conversion process automatically ends the civil partnership and the couple are treated as having been married since the date the civil partnership was formed.

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