Different Sex Civil Partnerships March 2017
Thank you for contacting me recently about the extension of civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples and the related Equal Civil Partnerships campaign.
I support equal access to civil partnerships for all couples regardless of gender or sexuality and I support the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill.
The introduction of civil partnerships in 2004 was a landmark policy that allowed lesbian, gay and bisexual people to have their loving relationships recognised by law and have the same benefits as married couples.
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill is a Private Members' Bill that has attracted a great deal of cross-party support. If enacted it would amend the Civil Partnership Act 2004 to allow opposite sex couples to enter a civil partnership. This would help couples who do not wish to marry access greater legal protections for themselves and their families. It would be another step towards true equality, allowing people to choose the type of partnership that best suits their needs, faith and aspirations.
As you may know, this Bill was debated on 13 January 2017. The Opposition gave the Bill its full backing and urged the Government to support it. Unfortunately, the Government reaffirmed its position against this change to the law and talked the bill out so it could make no further progress on that day.
I was disappointed by this outcome and I know the disappointment will be felt by many people, including supporters of the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign and those who have signed the Change.Org petition calling for civil partnerships to be open to all.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this issue and for sharing your views.