News

Civil Partnership Bill introduced

Published: 01 Oct 2019 09:04

More choice for mixed sex couples.

Mixed sex couples will be able to enter a civil partnership for the first time under new legislation introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

Social Security and Older People Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Fundamentally, extending civil partnerships to mixed sex couples is about equality, fairness and choice.

“This Bill means all couples will have the same choices if they decide they want to make a lasting commitment to each other through a legally recognised relationship. Just like same sex couples, mixed sex couples will be able to choose to enter into a civil partnership if they feel this is right for them. 

“The Scottish Government is creating an inclusive Scotland that promotes equality of choice and human rights for all. This legislation is part of that goal.”

Background

The Scottish Government consulted on two options for civil partnership in Scotland in 2018: scrapping civil partnership or making it available to mixed sex couples.

Last year the UK Supreme Court ruled the introduction of same sex marriage had resulted in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 no longer being compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights on equality grounds, because it denied mixed sex couples the opportunity to enter into civil partnerships, while same sex couples had the choice of either marriage or civil partnership.

Civil partnership in Scotland was introduced for same sex couples by the Civil Partnership Act 2004. This Act extends across the UK and took effect from 5 December 2005. Civil partnerships are created by registration.
The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 introduced marriage for same sex couples. Civil partnership ceremonies can be religious or belief, or civil. They can be registered by a registrar, or an authorised religious or belief celebrant.

Other countries where mixed sex civil partnership has already been introduced include the Netherlands and New Zealand. The UK Government has announced it will make mixed sex civil partnership available in England and Wales by the end of 2019 and will introduce through secondary legislation.