Same-sex marriage commenced in England and Wales on March 29th, but it was only beginning yesterday that those already in civil partnerships could opt to convert into marriages.
Couples already in civil partnerships may opt for a simple conversion at a register office, or a two-stage process, which includes a ceremony at a venue of their choice. The latter allows couples to choose a religious venue, hotel or other venue to host their conversion ceremony. A superintendent registrar must be present for the first part of the conversion, and a religious figure may take over to conduct the rest of the ceremony. The legal formation of the marriage is conducted by the registrar, not the religious minister, unlike in a same-sex marriage for a couple not in a partnership.
Same-sex marriages commence in Scotland on New Year’s Eve. Northern Ireland legalized civil partnerships in 2005 but marriage remains banned.