The future of civil partnership: analysis of consultation responses

Analysis of responses received to our 2018 consultation on the future of civil partnership in Scotland.

Impact Assessments

57. In line with usual practice, draft Impact Assessments were prepared and attached as annexes to the consultation paper. These included:

  • A draft Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA)
  • A draft Equality Impact Assessment Record (EQIA)
  • A draft Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA)

58. The consultation paper noted that the Government did not consider a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA), an Islands Impact Assessment (IIA) or a Fairer Scotland Duty Assessment (FSDA) required.

59. Respondents to the consultation were asked whether they had any comments on the three drafts presented.

Question 8. Do you have any comments on the draft Impact Assessments?

Yes ☐

No ☐

If yes, please outline these comments.


60. Many responses to this question reiterated arguments outlined above, for and against the two options.

61. Some comments on the Impact Assessments in general included suggestions that they were thorough and understandable. 

62. Other comments suggested that they were too long and not sufficiently impartial.

63. One respondent suggested that children of couples with a civil partnership might be at a disadvantage should the closure option be pursued: “There is also potential for children to experience negative impact if their parents or guardians have joined in a form of partnership which is no longer legally available. It would be appropriate, therefore, to include these groups in the sections on sectors and groups affected in the EQIA and CRWIA.”

64. Responses also included proposals that both an FSDA and an assessment of the impact on Human Rights be conducted.

65. As mentioned above, the Equality and Human Rights Commission suggested an FSDA in light of the possibility that same sex couples who cannot travel outside Scotland would be at a disadvantage should civil partnerships close and couples would consequently have to travel south of the border (or overseas) to have a mixed sex civil partnership. A further suggestion was that an FSDA should consider the higher expenditure expectations around marriages than civil partnerships.

Draft Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA)

  • Costs
    A number of comments queried how costs were estimated, or suggested that the costs of the extension option would be insignificant, and perhaps lower than those presented.
    Others argued that the cost is less important than ensuring equality and choice.
    However, it was also contended that any costs involved in the extension option could not be justified when there are no substantial differences between civil partnership and marriage.
  • Take up
    Some respondents reiterated the point that there is a lack of evidence to support the claim that take up of civil partnerships would be low, and that efforts should have been made to identify the amount of mixed sex couples that would like to take up a civil partnership.
  • Loss of business
    One argument put forward was that hospitality and events businesses in Scotland might miss out should civil partnership be closed and people then choose to travel elsewhere to have one.

Draft Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA)

66. Many responses agreed that the extension option would eliminate unlawful discrimination and advance equality of opportunity for people of all sexual orientations.

  • Promoting good relations
    The draft EQIA suggested that neither option would contribute to promoting good relations (for any of the protected characteristics). However, one respondent suggested that the extension option would have a positive impact in this regard on the basis that mixed sex and same sex couples would have parity.   That respondent pointed out that the availability of marriage to same sex couples and the absence of availability of civil partnership to mixed sex couples could have a detrimental effect on relations.
  • Sexual orientation – eliminating discrimination and advancing equality of opportunity
    Some comments argued that in practice, the closure option would cause problems for those with existing civil partnerships, and that they might feel pressure to change their civil partnership to a marriage. Others suggested that it is fairer to correct inequality of opportunity by extending the existing options to everyone, rather than removing options from some groups.

Draft Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA)

67. There were no further substantial points made on the draft CRWIA beyond that outlined above.



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