Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill: equality impact assessment

This EQIA considers how the Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill will impact on people with protected characteristics.

Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) Record

Title of policy/ practice/ strategy/ legislation etc. Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill
Cabinet Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville, Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People
Lead official Sarah Meanley, Family Law
Officials involved in the EQIA Name Team
Simon Stockwell
Sarah Meanley
Family Law
Family Law
Directorate: Division: Team Justice: Civil Law and Legal System, Family Law
Is this new policy or revision to an existing policy? Revision to an existing policy


Policy Aim

1. The Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill will make civil partnership available to mixed sex couples.

2. The outcome of the Bill will be the introduction of a comprehensive scheme of mixed sex civil partnership, largely modelled on the existing scheme of same sex civil partnership.

3. The extension of civil partnership to mixed sex couples will contribute to the following National Outcome:

  • We respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination

4. This EQIA will assess the extension of civil partnership to mixed sex couples for the purposes of understanding the impact on people, and on the promotion of equality.

Who will it affect?

5. The Bill will affect:

  • Couples who wish to enter a mixed sex civil partnership
    The Bill should have a positive effect on couples in that it will give them the ability to enter into their preferred type of relationship, including the opportunity to do so through a registration ceremony conducted in accordance with their faith; it will also provide these couples with access to the rights and responsibilities that flow from entering into a legally recognised relationship.
  • Religious or belief bodies/religious or belief celebrants
    Some religious or belief bodies, or individual religious or belief celebrants may not support the extension of civil partnership. In that sense the Bill may have a negative effect on these bodies or individuals. However, the Bill provides there is no legislative duty to register this type of relationship.

Where a religious or belief body supports the extension of civil partnership to mixed sex couples, the Bill will have a positive effect in that it will permit these bodies to conduct mixed sex civil partnership registrations as part of the practice of their religion or belief.

  • Transgender people in civil partnerships, and who wish to enter one
    Transgender people currently have to end their civil partnership if they legally change their gender, reflecting the current same sex nature of the relationship. The Bill will have a positive effect on these people as it will allow them to stay in their relationship after they legally acquire a change of gender.

At present, a transgender person in a same sex relationship cannot enter into a civil partnership unless they legally change their gender. For example, a trans woman who has not acquired legal recognition of their change of gender will be treated in law as a man. This means that, should their preferred type of relationship be a civil partnership, they would not currently be able to be in a civil partnership with a woman. This is because the couple would be treated in law as being in a mixed sex relationship. Mixed sex civil partnership will make civil partnership open to these couples.

  • Couples in legally recognised mixed sex relationships that are similar to civil partnership (but which are not marriage) from other jurisdictions
    At present, there is no recognition of these relationships in Scotland, reflecting the current absence of mixed sex civil partnership. The Bill will have a positive effect on these people, as it includes provisions on the recognition of their relationships in Scotland.
  • Couples currently in civil partnerships
    These will be same sex relationships. The Bill should have a positive indirect effect on these couples in that their choice of relationship will no longer effectively involve a declaration of their sexual orientation.
  • People at risk of being forced into a mixed sex civil partnership
    The Scottish Government is aware that women and girls are predominantly the victims of forced marriage, although there are male victims too. The Bill creates the offence of forced civil partnership. This should have a positive effect on this group of people by providing a deterrent.
  • People across society who will interact with couples in mixed sex civil partnerships
    The effects of this could be positive or negative depending on the views of specific individuals on mixed sex civil partnership.



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