Allow digital registrations for civil partnerships & marriages during lockdown

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On 31st December 2019, mixed-sex civil partnerships were first allowed to take place in England and Wales. Couples rushed to book their slot, finally allowed to protect their family legally and financially by forming the relationship that they wanted.

This right was taken away from them abruptly on 21 March as lock-down was announced. All civil partnerships and weddings were cancelled with immediate effect. 

The need to protect register office staff cannot be argued with but it does leave couples without protection should the worst happen to them. Many are key-workers including those in health-care, risking their lives to protect others and to keep Britain functioning. The lack of a legal relationship means that if they should die during the lock-down period, their partner will not receive widowed parent's allowance, inheritance tax credit - meaning that the family home might need to be sold to cover payments or pension transference.

We are concerned with mixed-sex civil partnerships who have waited years for this opportunity only to have it frozen within three months but these problems do affect all couples - mixed and same-sex who were planning a civil partnership or a marriage in this time.

The state of New York has got around this problem by allowing zoom registrations. If it's possible there, why not here? We ask the Home Office and the General Register Office to take action to allow digital registrations of civil partnerships and marriages for the duration of the lock-down.

Provide peace of mind and protection for families at this most difficult of times.