Marriage go-ahead for thwarted Dearne gay couple

Michael and Paul Atwal-Brice.
Michael and Paul Atwal-Brice.

Wedding plans are underway for a gay couple who marriage was prevented by lack of government legislation.

Thurnscoe men Paul and Michael Atwal-Brice could not marry on March 31 this year as they wished, because they were unable to convert their civil partnership without first dissolving it.

Family lawyers at Irwin Mitchell represented the couple as they challenged the Government to push for speedy action to enable them, and couples like them, to marry.

It is now confirmed that same-sex couples in civil partnerships can convert to marriage from December 14 this year.

The Atwal-Brices, who have adopted twin sons, may try for a December wedding following the news.

Michael Atwal-Brice said: “We are really pleased. We can have our civil partnership years added on to our marriage so we will not lose any anniversary years. We are unsure whether to have a small intimate celebration with family and friends and more importantly the twins, or a bigger event as we planned before. It is all so new at the moment.”

Paul added: “We were distraught when we first found out we wouldn’t be able to get married when we had planned and believed it very unfair that no-one could give us full information. We are so pleased we now have a date to work towards.”

Zoe Round, associate director at Irwin-Mitchell, said: “Paul and Michael have fought hard and with us highlighted the issues facing same-sex couples by placing legal pressure on the Government to set the date for conversions to marriage. While it is good that there is now a fixed timeline of action, questions still remain about why it cannot be sorted earlier.”