Civil Partnerships

Women and Equalities written question – answered on 3rd March 2017.

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Photo of Sarah Olney Sarah Olney Liberal Democrat, Richmond Park

To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the merits of extending civil partnerships to opposite sex couples.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The Government carried out a consultation on the future of civil partnerships in 2014. Views were invited on three options: abolishing civil partnerships; phasing them out; or extending them to opposite sex couples.

The review found that there was no clear consensus on the future of civil partnerships. A majority of respondents to the consultation were against extending civil partnerships to opposite sex couples and several significant stakeholders thought it was too soon to consider making changes to civil partnerships until the impact of extending marriage to same sex couples is known. Given the lack of any consensus, the government did not change the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

The decision not to change the law was judicially reviewed last year and the Government won in the High Court. The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal against the High Court judgment this week and confirmed that the Government’s approach is lawful.

We welcome the Court’s ruling. Before we take any action on this issue, it is right that we evaluate the impact that same sex marriage has on the take-up of civil partnerships. We will also carefully consider this judgment and its implications before deciding on our next steps.

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