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Bill to introduce mixed-sex civil partnerships put before Scottish Parliament

A couple getting married - Image credit: PA

Bill to introduce mixed-sex civil partnerships put before Scottish Parliament

Legislation that would allow mixed-sex couples to form a civil partnership has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

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 Act introduced marriage for same-sex couples in 2014 in addition to the option of a civil partnership, which had been introduced in 2004.

However, last year the UK Supreme Court ruled the introduction of same-sex marriage had made the Civil Partnership Act 2004 incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, 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.

Following a consultation in 2018 on whether to scrap civil partnerships or make them available to mix-sex couples, the Scottish Government opted to extend them to opposite-sex partnerships.

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.”

The UK Government has also announced it will make mixed-sex civil partnership available in England and Wales by the end of 2019 and will introduce them through secondary legislation.

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