Gay couple told to dissolve civil partnership if they want to marry

Fathers to two adopted boys want to be part of history when the first gay couples get married in England and Wales on 29 March

Gay couple told to dissolve civil partnership if they want to marry
06 January 2014

A British gay couple are distraught after being told they must dissolve their civil partnership if they want to marry.

Paul and Michael Atwal-Brice, fathers from Barnsley to adopted identical twin autistic boys, hoped they would be able to celebrate history being made on 29 March.

England and Wales gay couples, on this date, will be the first to walk down the aisle and get married in the UK.

But there’s a snag. If the same-sex couple is already in a civil partnership, legalized in 2004, and they want to be married then they must wait until the end of 2014 to convert their union into marriage.

Or alternatively, as the Atwal-Brices have been told, they must dissolve their civil partnership of six years.

‘We’re being penalized because we’re in a civil partnership,’ Paul Atwal-Brice told Gay Star News.

‘No couple should be asked to divorce or dissolve to be able to get married. To dissolve a civil partnership, you have to go to court, and you have to have a valid reason.

‘Wanting to stay together and be married is hardly a valid reason to dissolve a civil partnership.’

As soon as the date was announced, the couple sorted nearly everything they needed for their perfect wedding. They put down deposits on cakes, suits, flowers, and had two venues nearly booked.

The couple, who adopted their boys Levi and Lucas shortly after their civil partnership in 2008, had also planned to invite 50 disabled children and their families to their wedding.

Instead of gifts, they were asking their guests to donate money to disability charity Caudwell Children for their wedding.

 ‘As a family, we face many challenges. We have to fight for everything,’ Atwal-Brice said.

‘To fight to get married on the 29th is absolutely appalling. To be told you have to basically separate from each other.

‘That leaves us in a legal turmoil. Legally we’re not each other’s next of kin if that happens.’

The couple are now considering their options, and are hoping their lawyers will find a loophole to enable them to get married on 29 March.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has explained it will take longer for couples in civil partners to get married as computer systems have to be reformed.

In response to this, Atwal-Brice said: ‘It’s just disgraceful. We are a family. And it’s so important for us to be part of history.

‘To say we couldn’t get married on the day, with our two disabled boys, because of computer systems. It’s just not fair on gay people.’

‘A lot of same-sex couples might not know about this. The notice of marriage has to be on the 13 March.

‘What is wrong about being part of history in the UK? We might not be a normal family, but we’re very unique. And we want to be married.’



No thumbnail available

From a lesbian kiss to a 95-year-old: Eurovision semi-finals return

Vampires, the Salvation Army and a lesbian kiss... it's the Eurovision semi-finals part two!
The Cube, Wharfside Street, Birmingham

The Cube, Wharfside Street, Birmingham

Modern waterside apartments in one of Birmingham's most iconic new buildings
No thumbnail available

Move to stop Australian disability carers from discriminating against LGBTIs

Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich has today put forward an amendment to ensure religious disability care providers cannot legally discriminate against LGBTI people as clients or employees in the state of New South Wales (NSW)
No thumbnail available

Graffiti attack on Texas lesbians will not be treated as a hate crime

Despite an initial pledge to refer a graffiti attack on a lesbian couple’s vehicle to the FBI, authorities in Arlington, Texas, will not be seeking hate crime charges against the group of youths charged with spray painting the slurs
No thumbnail available

Justin Bartha talks to GSN playing a gay man on NBC's The New Normal

'All I care about is working on something of quality'
No thumbnail available

Lady Gaga did very good things in 2011

Grammy-winning singer again tops's list of top 20 celebs
No thumbnail available

Gays shine bright at Creative Arts Emmys

Behind the Candelabra, Lily Tomlin, Neil Patrick Harris, Tim Gunn and Dan Bucatinsky among the winners
No thumbnail available

Alex Salmond, who fought for gay marriage in Scotland, resigns

First Minister resigns after the country votes to stay in the union with the rest of the United Kingdom
No thumbnail available

Trans woman shows how 'ridiculous' bathroom bans are with urinal selfie campaign

'I’m actively showing them what it would look like if that became law and how completely ridiculous it is'
'Modern reboot' of Xena in the works

'Modern reboot' of Xena in the works

'The new Xena would have to have the charisma and charm of Lawless and the smarts of The Hunger Games' Katniss'