Last Updated on 8.5.17 by Nicola Fraser
There was a very telling survey conducted recently by research consultancy Populous.
It showed that 3 in 5 people agree that civil partnerships should be made available to all couples.
As it stands, civil partnerships are only an option for same sex couples looking to tie the knot. This has been criticised by many as discriminatory, as same sex couples feel they should be granted the same rights as LGBT couples.
Initially, civil partnerships were introduced in the UK as a sort of stopgap until equal marriage was approved by parliament back in 2013. Since marriage was made legal for same sex couples, many believed that civil partnerships would be made redundant and ultimately disappear. However, they were left on the table and same sex couples have been free to choose between civil partnerships and marriage since, whereas opposite-sex couples only have the option of marriage.
Call for Change
This survey joins an overwhelming amount of existing statistics in favour of making civil partnerships available to all couples.
Earlier this year, Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan were unsuccessful in their high profile campaign to extend the law to allow opposite-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships. They felt marriage was a ‘patriarchal institution’ which has a ‘sexist history’.
Their legal battle, which lasted over 3 years, went all the way to the high court, prompting an online petition which received over 72,000 signatures and garnered national media attention.
Protection for Cohabitees
It is argued that extending civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples who don’t wish to marry would provide much needed legal protection to cohabitees.
Statistics from July 2016 show that cohabiting couples make up nearly 10% of the UK’s population.
The Marriage (Same–Sex couples) Act 2013 included provision for a review by the Secretary of State and some would say that review is long overdue.
There is no such thing as ‘common law marriage’ so those who have cohabited for years can see themselves in some respects in the same position as two friends who have lived together.
The government will need to decide if civil partnerships should be open to all but what is really needed is reform of the law for cohabitees, those who have not taken the step to formalise their living arrangements and who can in some cases end up with nothing.
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Partner & Head of Family, Family Law