Opposite-sex couples will be able to form a civil partnership by the end of this year, the Government has revealed.
The measure comes as part of new plans designed to give couples the freedom to choose how they wish to form a legal union.
Announcing the news today, 10 July 2019, the Minister for Women and Equalities, Penny Mordaunt, said marriage will no longer be only the only option for millions of couples wanting legal security.
It comes after the Supreme Court ruled in June 2018 that the current rules surrounding civil partnerships breached the human rights of Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, the couple who brought the case before the court.
The new law potentially paves the way for as many as three million couples to join in a legal union, offering legal and financial protections which are not available to couples who merely live together.
As part of the announcement, the Government will also open a consultation seeking views on giving opposite-sex couples the opportunity to convert their marriage into a civil partnership. Under the proposals, a limited period will be available to those couples who did not previously have the option of civil partnerships.
Commenting on the proposals, Ms Mordaunt said: “There are all sorts of reasons why people may choose not to marry, but for a long time it has been the only option for many wanting the legal security it provides.
Neil Acheson-Gray, Head of Private Client at CLC, said: “This is a fantastic step, providing an alternative to marriage for these couples. It opens the door to those in established relationships who choose not to marry to defer Inheritance Tax until the second death.
“The previous restriction to same-sex couples was neither logical nor fair and it is sad that it took an application to Court to achieve long-overdue change.
“Hopefully, it will also extend to death benefits under pension schemes to which unmarried survivors of established relationships are often denied.”
For more information on Private Client matters, contact Neil Acheson-Gray today.