Opposite-sex civil partnerships rejected in second parliament debate

Heterosexual couple lose high court civil partnership case

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill has failed at its second reading in the House of Commons, it has been confirmed.

The Bill, sponsored by Tim Loughton MP, would have enabled the provision for opposite-sex couples to enter a civil partnership.

Speaking to the House of Commons last week, Mr Loughton argued that the needs of modern day couples are transcending that of traditional marriage.

“There are a whole lot of complex motives as to why many of our constituents do not go down the formal marriage route,” he explained.

“They are mostly still in committed, loving relationships, but if they do not want to go for traditional marriage, they have no way of having those relationships recognised in the eyes of the state, just as was the case for same-sex couples pre-2004.”

He added that there existed an inequality between heterosexual and homosexual couples.

Cohabitating couples do not have the same legal protection as married couples.  For example, in the instance that one partner dies, the other does not have automatic rights to their inheritance.

Contesting the Bill, Robert Halfon MP said the Bill was not widely welcomed.

He referred to a 2014 consultation in which 76 per cent of the 11,500 respondents opposed extending civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples.

“The Government’s position is that we want to see what happens and to look at the data before taking any further decisions on the matter,” said Mr Halfon.

Earlier this year, the High Court voted against an opposite-sex couple’s wishes to engage in a civil partnership, reasoning that it did not violate their human rights.

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