Lancashire couples in a civil partnership now have the choice to convert it into a marriage.
From this Wednesday (10th December 2014), couples across the UK will have the option of a simple conversion from a civil partnership to a marriage. This follows a landmark change to the Marriages (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.
The conversion, which involves a short administrative process, can be carried out at main register offices and other sites offering a registration service.
Alternatively, couples can opt for a ceremony at any approved wedding venue, including religious premises registered for same-sex marriages.
Steve Lloyd, Lancashire County Council's head of registration and coroners' support services, said: "Civil partnerships remain a legal relationship and couples don't need to convert unless they want to.
"However, campaigners have been calling for this change for a long time, and now couples will have the choice of converting to a marriage with either a simple conversion or a full ceremony.
"We can carry out the administrative conversion at any of our local registration offices, and we can offer a celebration ceremony if the couple wishes."
Under the new legislation, the marriage certificates will show the date of the original civil partnership.
For the first year, all couples who formed their civil partnership before 29th March 2014 will be eligible for a £45 fee reduction. The law was changed to give same-sex couples the right to marry on 29th March
The government has consulted on the future of civil partnerships but as yet no decision has been made.
• For more information, phone 0300 123 6705 or go to www.lancashire.gov.uk