The Civil Partnership Act comes into force on Monday, representing fundamental reform of gay and lesbian rights.
And, following the introduction of the landmark legislation, many same-sex couples in Birmingham are expected to follow the likes of Elton John and David Furnish up the aisle.
Katherine Haden, a member of the family team at West Midlands legal firm Challinors, said: "Those who have been waiting to take advantage of the new reform can register their partnership from Monday, whereupon there is a statutory waiting period of fifteen days.
"Therefore we can expect the region's same-sex couples to take the unprecedented step of formalising their relationships from December 21 onwards, with Birmingham Registry Office on Broad Street already geared up to perform the ceremony.
"Elton John and David Furnish are rumoured to be among the first to be confirming their commitment in a lavish ceremony. It will be just one of thousands of civil partnership ceremonies to take place next year.
"The process itself is relatively straightforward - the ceremony can be performed in a host of approved premises including registry offices, selected hotels and listed buildings; however there must be no hint of a religious association."
According to Ms Haden, the Act has both practical and financial benefits for same sex couples.
She added: "The new legislation is not merely a gesture of acceptance levelled towards a marginalised sector of society; it serves to put same-sex relationships on an equal footing with those of their heterosexual counterparts.
"For example, after registering their partnership in a civil ceremony, same-sex couples will become next of kin and will subsequently enjoy the same inheritance status as heterosexual spouses. They will also be exempt from Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax, and stand to
benefit from their partner's pension. Where children are involved, biological mothers automatically have parental responsibility. However the Civil Partnership Act also makes provision for the acquisition of parental responsibility for the child or children of civil partners. This is achieved with a process akin to that used by step parents wishing to take legal responsibility for step children --either by agreement or by order of the court."
As with traditional marriage arrangements, legal restrictions do apply.
Couples must be over 16 and must also be single, divorced or not already in a civil partnership. A partnership cannot be registered with a family relation, and both parties must have resided in England or Wales for at least seven days before giving notice of intention.
Equally if the partnership breaks down, the process evoked for dissolving it is similar to that of divorcing couples.
For example a person is not able to apply to dissolve the partnership until 12 months have passed, meaning the first applications are likely to be seen in December 2006. The couple's financial claims will be dealt with in the same ways as that of married couples who are divorcing, as set out in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.
Ms Haden noted: "It marks a milestone for gay rights activists in the UK, and, although the Civil Partnerships Act has its detractors, not to mention those who believe this legislation could have gone further, this is a great leap in terms of affording same sex couples equality.
"I am sure it will not be long before this reform is enshrined in today's modern society and everyday culture; and we will be seeing Elton and David's wedding photos on the front of magazine covers, along with same-sex couples emerging celebratory from Birmingham Registry Office on Broad Street."
* Cannock law firm Ansons is hosting a free legal surgery at its offices on Eastern Way on Monday for same sex couples who have questions about the new Act.