Policy actions  2 of 3

Civil partnership

We have introduced draft legislation to the Scottish Parliament to enable mixed sex couples to enter into a civil partnership.

If approved, the Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill will ensure that mixed and same sex couples have the same choices of marriage or civil partnership.

Our decision to enable mixed sex couples to enter into a civil partnership follows a 2018 UK Supreme Court ruling. The ruling declared that the UK Civil Partnership Act 2004 was against the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) because it prevents mixed sex couples from entering into civil partnerships.

Alongside the Bill we have published impact assessments covering business, equality and child rights and wellbeing.

Consultation on the future of civil partnership

Following the 2018 UK Supreme Court ruling, we consulted on the future of civil partnership in Scotland. This asked for views on two options for change: scrapping civil partnership or making it available to mixed sex couples.

Respondents told us they wanted mixed sex civil partnership to be introduced because it provides:

  • an opportunity to enter into a legally recognised relationship
  • greater rights and responsibilities for couples who don't want to marry
  • equality of choice for all couples

We have published:

Background to civil partnership

Civil partnership was introduced by the UK Civil Partnership Act 2004 for same sex couples. The Act extends across the UK and took effect from December 2005.

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 introduced marriage for same sex couples.

The National Records of Scotland publishes statistics on civil partnership in Scotland

The UK Supreme Court made a decision in June 2018 that the current law goes against the European Convention on Human Rights as it does not allow opposite sex couples to enter into civil partnerships.

We consulted on the issue in September 2018, putting forward two options:

  • barring further partnerships
  • opening civil partnerships up to opposite sex couples