In June 2018 the Supreme Court made a ruling that it is discriminatory to restrict the ability to enter into a civil partnership to same-sex couples only and is, in fact, in breach of human rights laws. Following a period of uncertainty after this judgement, the Government have now agreed to amend the law, extending the option of a civil partnership to heterosexual couples.
Presently, opposite-sex couples have the option of a civil partnership or a marriage since the introduction of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. In comparison, same-sex couples currently only have the option of marriage.
Equalities Minster, Penny Mordaunt, noted: “This is an important step forward for equality. There are all sorts of reasons why people may choose not to marry. By giving couples this option, we hope to give them and their families more certainty and security.”
On 26th October 2018 a new Bill seeking to address the inequality (amongst other issues), ‘The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill’, passed through the House of Commons. This Bill will require the Secretary of State to arrange the completion of a report for Parliament outlining the Government’s plan for addressing the issue. A proposed new clause of the Bill, ‘Reform of civil partnership’, would also require the Secretary of State to make regulations to change the inequality in the current law within 6 months of the Bill being passed.
If you need advice concerning any family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact any of our offices to speak to a member of our family team, who will be happy to offer their assistance.