From 16 December 2014 it will be possible for trans people who are married or in a civil partnership to obtain gender recognition without having to divorce or dissolve their civil partnership. Trans people who are married will be able to apply to the gender recognition panel using a new application process which will reflect the fact that some applicants will wish their marriage to continue post gender recognition. Those in civil partnerships will be able to convert their civil partnership to a marriage before applying for gender recognition and then use the same process as other married applicants. Although you can apply under the new rules from the December 16th, in practice it is likely that the first decisions on such applications will not be made by the panel until around February next year.
The following information applies for couples who married in Scotland regardless of where they currently live. If you currently live in Scotland but married elsewhere than Scotland then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org/2021 for information appropriate to your circumstances.
If your spouse is available and willing to sign a statutory declaration consenting to the marriage continuing, to obtain gender recognition you will need to apply to the gender recognition panel (GRP) using the new application form and new statutory declarations for married people.
If your application is successful the gender recognition panel will inform the Registrar General for Scotland that gender recognition has been granted. You will then be informed that you can either have a renewed marriage ceremony or use a simple administrative process to have your marriage re-registered to show your current name and your preferred designation as bride or bridegroom (or neither). You also have the option of simply continuing to use your original marriage certificate without changes if you wish. Whichever route you choose your marriage will be treated as having continued from the date you originally got married.
The process for organising a renewed marriage ceremony will be much the same as when you originally got married. You will be able to choose to have a civil, religious or humanist ceremony. As you are legally a same sex couple you will only be able to have your wedding solemnised by a celebrant who is authorised to conduct same sex weddings.
As before, both you and your partner will submit the marriage notice forms, only this time in the box which asks for “Marital or Civil Partnership Status” you will tick “Existing Marriage”. You will then have a renewed ceremony, which can be as simple or as all singing all dancing as you like! If you have a civil ceremony the minimum cost will be £125.
Following the ceremony the marriage schedule and entry in the marriage register will be the same as for any other marriage apart from the fact that you will be described as in an existing marriage. (This is the same wording used on marriage certificates for couples who marry abroad and legally confirm their marriage in Scotland.)
If you do not want to have a renewed marriage ceremony you can use a simple administrative procedure to re-register your marriage. You and your partner will fill in an application form and send it to the National Records of Scotland (NRS). NRS will send you a draft of the new marriage register entry for you to approve. You can then request a new marriage certificate. The only fee for this process is the standard £10 charge for the certificate.
The marriage certificate you receive will be slightly different depending on whether you choose to re-register your marriage or have a renewed ceremony.
In the first case the certificate will vary from other marriage certificates because the boxes for witnesses will simply have a line through them. If you have a renewed ceremony you will have needed witnesses and so these boxes will be filled. Following both re-registration and renewal the other difference between your wedding certificate and others will be that in the “Marital or Civil Partnership Status” box you will be described as being in an “Existing Marriage”.
It may be possible to choose to have a note added to the bottom of the certificate stating that “This is a re-registration. The couple are treated as having been married to each other since [the date of the original marriage]” This would be useful if you need to prove how long you have been married and don’t want to show your old marriage certificate. We don’t yet know whether this will be possible but will update this page when we have further information.
If your spouse is not available and willing to sign a statutory declaration consenting to the marriage continuing, then the process for obtaining gender recognition will be more involved. In this case you apply to the gender recognition panel without a declaration from your spouse, and if your application is successful the GRP will provide you with an interim gender recognition certificate instead of a full certificate. You can use the interim certificate to apply to the Sheriff Court for full gender recognition within 6 months from the date it is issued to you. The Sheriff will grant you full gender recognition if you were married in Scotland and you have applied within the time limit.
Although obtaining gender recognition in this way has the same effect as if it was granted by the gender recognition panel you will not be able to renew or re-register your marriage to obtain a new marriage certificate, without your partner’s consent. Your marriage will however continue in full legal effect, unless you or your spouse applies for divorce.
Because mixed sex civil partnership has not yet been introduced, you will have to convert your civil partnership to a marriage in order for one of you to get gender recognition. The gender recognition panel (GRP) recommend you convert your civil partnership to a marriage before you submit your gender recognition application. (It may be possible from some time in 2015 to apply for gender recognition before converting your civil partnership to a marriage, and have the conversion happen at the same time as your gender recognition, but this more complicated procedure will not be in place by December 16th.) If you and your civil partner both want to get gender recognition, you can keep your civil partnership so long as you both apply to the GRP for gender recognition at the same time.
You can convert your civil partnership to a marriage by making an appointment with your local registrar. You will have to take photo ID with you (such as a driver’s licence or passport), if you have changed your ID to reflect your new name and/or gender it is fine to take that, and your civil partnership certificate. The registrar will register your marriage then and there and provide you with a marriage certificate. If you registered your civil partnership before 16th December 2014 and you convert to marriage before 16th December 2015, there will be no fee for the conversion, but there will be a £10 fee for the marriage certificate. From 16th December 2015 there will also be a £30 fee for the conversion.
If you want to have a ceremony to mark the conversion of your civil partnership to a marriage you can do so by marrying in the usual way and can have a civil, religious or humanist ceremony. Because at this point you will still legally be a same sex couple you will only be able to have your wedding solemnised by a celebrant who is authorised to conduct same sex weddings. The fee for this will depend on the celebrant and the ceremony – the minimum fee for a civil marriage is £125.
Once you have converted your civil partnership to a marriage you can then apply to the GRP using the procedure for married people described above under “Applying for gender recognition whilst married,” click here to go to that section.
If your application is successful the gender recognition panel will inform the Registrar General for Scotland that gender recognition has been granted. You will then be informed that if you want you can have your marriage re-registered either by having a renewed marriage ceremony or through a simple administrative process. As you will now be a legally mixed sex couple, you will be able to have your renewed wedding ceremony solemnised by a celebrant authorised to conduct mixed-sex weddings. Whether or not you choose to do so, your marriage will be treated as having existed from the date of your civil partnership, not the date of the conversion to marriage.
See the sections above on “Having a renewed ceremony” click here and “Re-registering your marriage” click here .
If it is important to you that your wedding certificate does not out you as trans you will want to have your marriage re-registered because the wedding certificate you will be given when you convert from civil partnership to marriage will refer back to the civil partnership. As mixed sex civil partnership is not available this would show that you used to be a legally same sex couple. If you had not changed your name at the time you converted your civil partnership you might also want to re-register your marriage so you have a marriage certificate with your new name on.
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Equality Network is a national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality and human rights charity.
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