Heterosexual couples now allowed civil partnerships

For many committed couples the idea of getting married may not be as appealing as it was for their parent’s generation.

With the expensive of a bells and whistles wedding and the fear of a complicated divorce should things go wrong, it’s unsurprising some are tempted to avoid making their union legal.

But the latest news may provide a much-needed alternative to this dilemma.

The government has confirmed that heterosexual couples in England and Wales will now have the right to enter into civil partnerships for the first time

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Prime Minister Theresa May made a much-anticipated response to a Supreme Court ruling this summer, which outlined that restricting civil partnerships to same-sex couples is discriminatory.

She said: ‘This change in the law helps protect the interests of opposite-sex couples who want to commit, want to formalise their relationship, but don’t necessarily want to get married.

‘As home secretary, I was proud to sponsor the legislation that created equal marriage. Now, by extending civil partnerships, we are making sure that all couples, be they same-sex or opposite-sex, are given the same choices in life.’

The fight to extend civil partnerships to all was spearheaded by London couple Rebecca Steinfeld, 37, and Charles Keidan, 41, whose legal bid to become civil partners ended with the above ruling.

Speaking earlier this year the couple made a joint statement outlining the reasons behind their campaign.

‘Throughout our campaign we have met hundreds of couples like us who love each other and want a civil partnership so they can celebrate their commitment and strengthen the security of their family unit’ they said.

Continuing they added:

‘Their reasons for not wanting to marry vary from bad personal experiences to expense to conscience – but that doesn’t matter.

“All they want is the choice of marriage or a civil partnership to suit them, which is currently available only to same-sex couples….

‘It’s time for the Government to stop making excuses which play with people’s lives, and give choice to all now.’

Responding to the government’s announcement, the couple – who have two daughters – said they welcomed the news but want concrete ‘legislative action’ and a timeframe in which these changes will take place.

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into effect in December 2005 and enables same sex couples to be afforded almost same rights as married couples.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics there were 908 civil partnerships formed in England and Wales in 2017, a 2 per cent increase on the previous year.

Among the UK regions, the London proved to the most popular with 37 per cent of all civil partnerships in England and Wales in 2017 taking place in the city.

What’s your reaction to the government’s announcement? Would you consider entering into civil partnership.