Five Court justices have ruled that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights as only same sex couples can enter into a Civil Partnership and this, therefore, amounted to discrimination against heterosexual couples.

It is extremely likely that this recent judgement will force government to adapt legislation to allow heterosexual couples to become civil partners.  Currently heterosexual couples may only marry while same sex couples may marry or become civil partners.

Despite civil partners having the same rights as a married couple, many feel that civil partnership is a more modern institution and places parties on a more equal footing from the outset.  A civil partnership does not have the religious and patriarchal connotations of marriage.

It may be that some of the estimated 3.3 million couples in the UK cohabiting with little legal protection may opt to enter into a civil partnership, if and when it becomes an option.

There are currently 63,000 same sex couples in civil partnerships and therefore it is extremely unlikely that the government will abolish civil partnerships altogether.  The only option therefore seems to be to allow heterosexual couples to enter into a civil partnership.


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