Civil partnership for heterosexual couples: an update
Following the government’s decision to introduce civil partnership for heterosexual couples, Penny Mordaunt (Minister for Women and Equalities) has announced that Parliament will consider the issues involved with a view to introducing the necessary legislation in the next Parliamentary Session.
Civil partnerships were originally created to enable same-sex couples to formalise their relationships at a time when marriage was not available to them. Since then, marriage for same-sex couples was introduced by the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013.
This then created an unintended difference whereby same-sex couples have the option to either marry or form a civil partnership, but opposite-sex couples only have the option to marry.
On 2nd October, the Prime Minister announced that the government will extend civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples.
The Minister said that there are a number of questions that arise specifically about opening civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples: for example, whether couples can choose to convert their civil partnership into a marriage (or vice-versa) and what should be the grounds for dissolution of an opposite-sex civil partnership.
It could be argued that the difference between marriage and civil-partnership is minimal which you can read about in a previous article. Legally this is certainly the case as the law has applied the same rights and responsibilities in both relationships, and the financial remedies available on the breakdown of those relationships are substantially the same. However, the legal reasons given to end a same sex marriage or civil partnership can be different than that of an opposite sex marriage. You can read more about that here.