Every couple in England and Wales will in future be able to choose between a civil partnership and marriage when they formalise their relationship, the prime minister has announced. Ending months of uncertainty following defeat in the supreme courtthe government has agreed to extend civil partnerships — available to same-sex couples since — to everyone. In Civil partnership uk heterosexual relations statement at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, Theresa May said she would end the ban on heterosexual couples entering civil partnerships.
Equality campaigners welcomed the decision, but warned commissioning a consultation would impose unnecessary delays on a straightforward change.
The government had been due to respond to a ruling in June that it was discriminatory to restrict civil partnerships to gay couples. In her announcement, May said: Civil partnerships were created in as a means of allowing same-sex couples to enter into a union that guarantees them similar legal rights to those who are married.
They are limited to same-sex couples but in Octoberfollowing a supreme court ruling declaring the existing position discriminatory, the government announced that heterosexual couples would also be entitled to enter the arrangement. There are differences between the two forms of union, partially symbolic and partially matters of substance.