Civil partnerships made available to mixed-sex couples for the first time in England and Wales

Mixed-sex couples in England and Wales can now register as civil partners for the first time.

Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 1:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 1:23 pm

From today, Tuesday, December 31, 2019, mixed-sex couples will be able to register a civil partnership for the first time.

Initially introduced in 2004, civil partnerships were designed to afford legal rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples, as cohabiting partners are not offered protection under law.

They offer almost exactly the same legal protections as marriage, including property and inheritance entitlements, without a religious cermony.

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan won a legal battle for the right to heterosexual civil partnerships in 2018.They were among the first mixed-sex couples to be registered as civil partners.

The Equal Civil Partnerships campaign has called on the government to introduce mixed-sex civil partnerships for more than four years.

It follows a campaign by Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, who won a legal battle for the right to heterosexual civil partnerships in 2018.

The couple were among the first to register their relationship as a civil partnership - known as "getting civilled" - on Tuesday.

Ms Steinfeld said: “I’m so happy and relieved that we’ve finally been able to give notice of our intention to form a civil partnership. It matters that feminists like me, in mixed-sex relationships, can through civil partnerships, formalise a relationship of equals.”

Speaking earlier this year, she said: "We wanted to formalise our relationship free from the baggage of marriage with its problematic gendered symbols, associations and traditions. Civil partnerships existed – there was no need to create anything new, just open them to all.

"After we had children, we wanted to reflect that relationship of equals to our children, but also pragmatically we wanted more financial protection for their benefit, in case we were to separate or one of us died."

It is thought that as many as 84,000 mixed-sex couples could register as civil partners by the end of 2020.

Following the introduction of same-sex marriage in 2014, regulations were introduced to allow same-sex civil partners to convert their partnership into a marriage. Opposite-sex partners are not able to do this.