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Births, marriages, deaths and nationality Organise a marriage

Differences between civil partnerships and marriages

The main difference between a marriage and a civil partnership is that a civil partnership is entered into by signing the civil partnership schedule while marriage is entered by vows and signing the marriage schedule.

See government comparison of civil partnership and marriage for same sex couples 

Read government guidance on converting a civil partnership to a marriage

Converting a marriage to a Civil Partnership 

It is not currently possible to convert a marriage to a civil partnership.  

In July 2019 the Government started a consultation on making changes to the existing right to convert a civil partnership to marriage and whether to introduce a new right to convert a marriage to a civil partnership. The consultation finished on 20 August 2019.  

The responses will now be analysed and a report will be published summarising the results that will indicate what action the Government intends to take.  

Until this report is published the current rules will be followed allowing only same sex couples to convert their civil partnerships to marriage. This avoids making short-term changes that might have to be undone when the conversion rights are decided, following the consultation.  

Any longer-term changes on conversion are still to be decided. At this stage we don't know when this is likely to happen. 


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