Elton John will not be able to marry civil partner David Furnish in May, despite the couple announcing that they intend to take advantage of England and Wales’ new same-sex marriage legislation next month.
A government spokesman confirmed to BuzzFeed that, despite the couple’s wishes, a quirk in the law means that the pair won’t actually be able to get married until the end of the year.
This is because they are already in a civil partnership and the government is still working on the procedure that will let couples convert their status from partnership to marriage.
The delay also affects the tens of thousands of other British couples who have formalised their relationship in a civil partnership since 2005.
“Our priority has been to ensure that couples, who are not in a civil partnership and who have been waiting to marry in order to formalise their relationship, could do so as soon as possible,” said the spokesman.
“We did not consider it fair to delay the first weddings until we were able to implement the conversion process. However, we are working hard to ensure that couples wanting to convert their civil partnerships into marriages can do so before the end of 2014.”
This means that the only same-sex couples in England and Wales who can get married are those who are not currently in a civil partnership.
But it’s almost impossible for couples who are in a civil partnership to dissolve their partnerships and get married immediately. This is because they first have to prove to a judge that their relationship has irretrievably broken down for the original partnership to be dissolved.
Furnish had earlier told the Las Vegas Review Journal: “I think what we’ll do is go to a registry office in England in May, and take the boys with us, and a couple of witnesses.”
John separately told NBC’s Today programme that the pair will get married “very quietly”.
“But we will do it and it will be a joyous occasion and we will have our children,” he added.