A Bit More Equal

The first mixed-sex Civil Partnerships are here at last.

December 2019 sees the first such civil partnership ceremonies.

As we reported in the summer, the government announced its intention earlier this year to bring in Civil Partnerships for mixed-sex couples by the end of this year. This followed a series of legal challenges to the “same-sex couples only” nature of the civil partnership law, especially since reform to marriage law in 2013.

The original proposals for civil partnerships were not limited by gender, but this was amended during the passage of the legislation back in the early 2000s.

Civil partnerships enjoy many similar benefits to marriage, but there are a number of areas where civil partnerships do not mirror the kinds of rights and protections afforded to married couples.

It was widely expected that the advent of same-sex marriage would see the decline into irrelevance of civil partnerships after 2014, but it hasn’t worked out that way – and not just in Northern Ireland, where marriage remained a strictly mixed-gender affair and only now is change on that coming through.

The government’s predictions for the reform are between 20,000 and 50,000 extra civil partnership registrations each year – with an additional cost of around £10m in partners’ defined benefits pension entitlements.