First opposite-sex civil partnership set for New Year’s Eve
For the last few years there have been campaigns to allow heterosexual couples the choice to be able to either marry or enter into an opposite-sex civil partnership, a choice which until recently was only afforded to same-sex couples. The most noticeable campaigners were Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan who took their case all the way to the Supreme Court in an effort to be allowed to enter into a civil partnership.
Now with new regulations coming into force, heterosexual couples will be able to register an opposite-sex civil partnership in England and Wales from 31 December 2019. New secondary legislation was approved in the House of Lords on 5 November 2019. During the debate, the Minister of State for the Home Office, Baroness Williams said it was intended that the regulations would commence on 2 December, which would allow the first opposite-sex civil partnership to take place on 31 December, given the usual 28-day notice period.
Martin Loat, Chair of the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign stated that “It has been a long journey through both the courts and parliament to get to this point. I’d like to pay tribute to everyone who has been involved in the campaign – especially Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan whose eventual win at the Supreme Court led us to this place, Tim Loughton MP who tenaciously took this on as a Private Members Bill, Baroness Fiona Hodgson who led the Bill through the Lords and of course all the supporters whose own testimonies have played a real role in the campaign. We are all delighted and relieved that the start date of 31st December can be adhered to.”
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.