Next week sees the coming into force of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014. On 16th December 2014 same sex couples will be allowed to marry in Scotland for the first time. Given the formalities which require to take place before a marriage ceremony can be conducted, the first same-sex marriages will not take place until 31st December 2014. This will indeed be a happy new year for some!
People in same-sex relationships will now be able to decide if they wish to cohabit, enter into a civil partnership, or enter into marriage. I am sure it will not be long until some opposite sex couples decide they wish to enter into a civil partnership! I am for equality, absolutely 100%, but time will tell if the institution of “civil partnership” will stand the test of time, if it will evolve to include heterosexual couples, or if it will be effectively phased out over many years to come.
If you are already in a civil partnership, this civil partnership can effectively be converted into a marriage. It can also be backdated to the date of the civil partnership, either by having a marriage ceremony if you so desire, or simply meeting with the registrar in the appropriate registration district. This seems a very straight forward and sensible approach if civil partners, previously denied the right to marriage, wish to have the same legal rights and “status” as opposite sex couples.
Congratulations to the new Mr and Mr, and Mrs and Mrs of 2015!