Under the Civil Partnership Act 2004, civil partnerships are legally recognised relationships between two people of the same sex, which only exist once registered. Upon registration, these partnerships confer the same rights and responsibilities to the partners that are conferred to married couples.
Since March 2014, it has been possible for civil partners to convert their partnership into a marriage, under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 and Regulation 5 (SI 2014/3181). Our recent blog on this topic sets out the procedure for undertaking this conversion, which you can read here.
Approximately a year ago, a heterosexual couple, Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld, challenged the law on the grounds of discrimination, as they were not eligible for a civil partnership being an opposite sex couple. Their judicial review claim was dismissed and the couple subsequently appealed that decision, which was also lost. The couple turned to the Court of Appeal to further their action. This matter was heard in November 2016 and the Court’s judgement is awaited.
In the background to the Court of Appeal’s judgment, the government have continued to review the future of civil partnerships in England and Wales. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill 2016-17 (the Bill) is a Private Member’s Bill, presented to Parliament by Tim Loughton MP on 21 July 2016. The intent of the Bill is to amend the 2004 act to provide that opposite sex couples may enter into a civil partnership.
If you wish to discuss your marriage options or the status of your civil partnership with a specialist family lawyer, contact us on 01234 889777 for a free consultation. Hunter & Uro Solicitors serve clients in Bedford, Northampton and the surrounding areas.