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CIVIL PARTNERSHIP: Assessing the options

18 April 2017  

Danielle Taylor considers the arguments for and against making civil partnership available to opposite-sex couples

Since 2004 civil partnerships have been available to same-sex couples as a result of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004), which was originally introduced in order to provide same-sex couples with the means by which their relationship could be legally recognised, and to enable them to have the same financial rights and recognition as a married couple. It was a compromise introduced on the basis that it was felt that legislation introducing same-sex marriages would not be passed based on views held at the time. Subsequently the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (M(SSC)A 2013) provided same-sex couples with the opportunity to enter into a marriage (or convert their civil partnership into a marriage) should they wish. CPA 2004 was not repealed and this created a situation where same-sex couples had two options available to them in order to legally formalise their relationship: civil partnership or marriage. A bar in the legislation at s3(1)(a), CPA 2004 prevents opposite-sex couples from entering into a civil partnership and means that, in contrast, opposite-sex couples only have one option available to them, ie marriage.

Additional Info

  • Case(s) Referenced:

    Steinfeld & anor v Secretary of State for Education [2016] EWHC 128 (Admin); [2017] EWCA Civ 81