Couples who have a civil partnership registered abroad or elsewhere in the UK can from today marry in Scotland, thanks to an extension to existing legislation.
From Monday 2 November, civil partners registered outside Scotland will be able to change their relationship to a marriage by having a ceremony in the country. Previously, the legislation meant only civil partnerships registered in Scotland could be changed into marriage.
Last year, Scotland established that same sex relationships are just as valid as mixed sex relationships when it passed the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 in 2014. More than 1,000 same sex couples have now married in Scotland
Commenting on the news, local Government Minister Marco Biagi told KaleidoScot: “We are sending a powerful message out about the kind of country we are – one which is incredibly proud that same sex couples can show their love and commitment to each other by getting married.
“By passing historic legislation last year, and now extending it to include those who had a civil partnership outwith Scotland, we are demonstrating to the world how importantly Scotland views equality.”
Tim Hopkins, Director of the Equality Network, stated: “We very much welcome this change, which is a small but important piece of unfinished business from the equal marriage legislation last year.
“Without this, same-sex couples living in Scotland who have registered a civil partnership outwith Scotland would be unable to marry in Scotland unless they live apart for a year first to dissolve their civil partnership. That’s obviously not an option for most couples, and now they will be able to marry in the usual way, changing their civil partnership directly to a marriage.
“The number of couples in this situation is relatively small, but the value of the change to them is huge.”
The Scottish Government is currently consulting on the future of civil partnerships in Scotland It closes on Tuesday 15 December at 5PM and can be accessed here.
There is no obligation on couples to change their civil partnership into a marriage. It is entirely a decision for couples themselves.