24th January 2017

With the news being taken up by American politics over the past few weeks (and months), you may have missed the attempt to amend the Civil Partnership Act 2004 to provide that opposite sex couples may enter civil partnership that happened recently, on the basis that there existed an inequality between heterosexual and homosexual couples.

However, despite the effort, the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill, sponsored by Tim Loughton MP, failed at its second reading in the House of Commons on 15 January 2017.

In the debate Mr Kevin Foster, a supported of the Bill, said:

For me, this is about giving people a choice. The Minister might like to reflect on the fact that this links into a wider debate. There is a debate to be had about civil partnerships and civil marriage—obviously, the situation is different for those who want a religious marriage—in relation to if and how we continue the system. If it does continue, it would be strange for civil partnerships to be retained purely as an arrangement for same-sex couples. I think we probably all take the view that that situation should not be maintained in the long term.”

Of course, we still await the judgment in the appeal of Steinfield and Keidan v Secretary of State for Education [2016] EWHC 128 (Admin) when an opposite sex couple lost their claim for judicial review of the ban on civil partnership for opposite sex couples and unless that judgment injects a new position, it looks as though the position in respect of heterosexual civil partnership will be maintained for the time being…

I do wonder, what is the problem in creating parity in option?

You can find the second reading debate by clicking here.

And the Bill can be found here.

Blog by Lui Asquith, specialist LGBQ Family Solicitor