Civil Partnerships; discrimination against opposite sex couples 

Marriage is now available to both same sex and different sex couples but civil partnerships are currently only available to same sex couples.

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 states “Two people are not eligible to register as civil partners of each other if ………… they are not of the same sex”.

In other Countries such as Holland and New Zealand, heterosexual couples can chose between marriage and civil partnership but that is not currently the case in the United Kingdom. At present there are 3 million co-habiting couples with 1.8 million dependent children, none of whom have the legal protection offered by marriage or choice of civil partnership.

Civil partners have equal treatment in a range of legal matters with married couples including:

  • Most State and Occupational Pension benefits.
  • Inheritance Tax and tax in general.
  • Income related State Benefits.
  • Duty to maintain the other civil partner and any children.
  • Protection from Domestic Abuse.
  • Ability to apply for Parental Responsibility for a civil partner’s child.

The legal ban on heterosexual couples entering into civil partnership has been challenged in the High Court by a couple who claim that the current law breaches their right to a family life and that it amounts to discrimination against heterosexuals.

The Judge dismissed the case stating that the United Kingdom has never been under an obligation to extend civil partnership to heterosexual couples and it did not amount to unlawful State interference with the couples right to family life or private life.

The couple were however given permission to take the case to the Court of Appeal because “the case raised issues of wider importance”.

How can we help?

    Contact Details
    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Google Privacy Policy, Our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.