Open civil partnerships to all

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We’re Rebecca and Charles, and we want to celebrate our relationship and provide protection for our family by having a civil partnership. However, until recently, we could not do so because 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.’

With your support, we mounted a successful legal challenge. In June 2018, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the current situation is discriminatory, cannot be justified, and is therefore unlawful. 

Soon after, in October 2018, Prime Minister Theresa May publicly announced her Government's commitment to extend civil partnerships to all. 

In March 2019, Tim Loughton MP’s private members’ bill received royal assent and became the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act.

Now, civil partnerships will be available to opposite-sex couples from 31st December 2019.

Key points are:

  • Notice can be given for different sex civil partnerships from 2nd December 2019
  • Civil partnerships can take place 28 days after – so from 31st December 2019
  • In exceptional cases, such as terminal illness, notice period can be waived. Seek advice from your local register office or contact the General Register Office
  • Couples who have formed a civil partnership or equivalent outside the UK will automatically have their relationship recognised from 2nd December
  • The government will decide by mid-2020 whether to grant the right to convert a marriage to a civil partnership (or vice versa) and if so for how long
  • Northern Ireland will permit mixed-sex civil partnerships from 13th January 2020
  • Scotland is currently consulting on its own legislation with a view to extending CPs

Can you believe the change we’ve all made together?!

Our own civil partnership plans will be simple and straightforward, just like we always wanted. On New Years Eve, we’ll be heading back to Chelsea Register office with our children to form our civil partnership in front of two witnesses - for the statutory minimum fee of £46, plus £22 for two certificates. That'll give us the legal status and recognition, rights and protections, and official partnership of equals that we’ve sought all along. It’s been a tough journey at times, so we plan to unwind in the company of close friends and family on New Years Eve to celebrate love and legal reform!

But please don’t let our plans influence what you do. In fact, don’t let anyone tell you what you should do. Just do what is right for you. Civil partnerships are a blank slate, there’s no social script. Take the opportunity to do whatever you want. 

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for all your support. We literally could not have gotten this far without you. 

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan

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