Civil partnerships for all?

26 April, 2017

Since March 2014, when same sex marriage was introduced, same sex couples have had the choice of either entering into a marriage or a civil partnership, when formalising their relationship. A civil partnership is not a marriage, but gives the parties many of the rights enjoyed by married people.  There are no fundamental differences between a marriage and a civil partnership, however opposite sex couples are currently barred from entering into civil partnerships.

A new poll conducted by Populus, on behalf of the Equal Civil Partnerships Campaign, surveyed 2000 British adults over 18 on their attitudes towards civil partnerships, and 57% thought that civil partnerships should be made available to both opposite sex and same sex couples. In contrast, 20% thought they should be scrapped altogether, and 24% were either unsure or didn’t mind. 

Matt Hawkins, Campaign Manager for the Equal Civil Partnerships Campaign, said:

‘This survey adds to the mound of evidence demonstrating that giving every couple the option of getting a civil partnership would be the popular and fair thing to do. Over 76,000 people have already signed a petition calling on the government to extend civil partnerships, MPs from all parties support our cause, and countries such as France, Sweden, and New Zealand and regions of the British Isles like the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, and Isle of Man have already shown that mixed-sex civil partnerships are easy to introduce and warmly welcomed.’

In February 2017 the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal of a heterosexual couple who wished to have a civil partnership instead of a marriage, however they did acknowledge that there was a potential violation of the parties’ human rights. Whether the results of this poll will influence government policy, particularly where civil partnerships are in decline according to the Office of National Statistics, remains to be seen.

If you could like further information in relation to this the contents of this post, or any aspect of family law, contact Claire Tollefson on 01892 506191 or at