The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013

Changes to the law allowing same sex couples to marry have now come into effect. The first marriage of a same sex couple was legal from 29 March 2014.

The main provisions of the act:

  • Allow same sex couples to marry in a civil ceremony.
  • Allow same sex couples to marry in a religious ceremony where the religious organisation has “opted in” to conduct such ceremonies and the minister of religion agrees.
  • Enable civil partners to convert their partnership into a marriage, if they wish.
  • Enable married individuals to change their legal gender without having to end their marriage.

The status of civil partnerships remains unchanged. They will still be available to same sex couples. The act does not make civil partnership available to opposite sex couples. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 will be up for review later in 2014.

Registration officers are unable to advise couples on whether to choose a marriage or civil partnership. This is a personal choice. Same sex couples may wish to seek legal advice, or consult an advisory group such as Stonewall, or the Government Equalities Office.

Comparison of civil partnership and marriage for same sex couples.

The process for giving notice for same sex marriages is the same for existing notices for marriage. More information about the requirements and documents can be found here.

Converting a civil partnership into a marriage

Couples will be able to convert their existing civil partnership into a marriage if they wish. This will be implemented from 10 December 2014. 

For further information, please call Slough Register Office on 01753 787600, Monday - Friday, between 9am and 4.30pm.