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Should heterosexual couples be able to enter into civil partnerships?

A campaign is mounting in the UK to allow heterosexual couples to enter into civil partnerships.

Under UK law, same-sex couples can now have a civil partnership or marry under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. However, opposite-sex couples are not afforded the same options, and cannot make a relationship official through any means but marriage.

However, with a vast number of people turning their backs on marriage, the ability to formalise long-term relationships through other legal means has never been more important.

Campaigning for change and equality, a petition has now been launched to open civil partnerships to all. Currently just short of the 5,000 signatures needed, if successful it is hoped that the government will debate the issue in Parliament.

The UK benefits from a variety of diverse family structures. Unfortunately, however, the concept of the common-law spouse is a myth, with most unmarried, cohabiting couples having almost no legal rights should the relationship break down. By preventing people from accessing civil partnerships, we deny them protection under the law. Addressing this issue, would, therefore, go a long way towards protecting the rights of couples in long-term relationships, who, for whatever reason, do not wish to marry.

And there is no real justification for upholding this strange legal anomaly. In 2012, a government consultation found that over 60% of respondents believe that heterosexual couples should be able to have a civil partnership. Despite this, there are currently no plans to change the law relating to this matter. However, this issue is being considered by the High Court, following a challenge on the grounds of discrimination with a ruling expected early next year.

If you and your partner are currently living together without being married, it is vital to obtain legal advice as soon as possible to make sure that your rights are protected.

At Linder Myers, our family law solicitors provide expert legal advice for individuals, couples, and families with children, in both same-sex and heterosexual relationships. If you’d like to discuss any of the above, or any other issues relating to family law, please contact us today.

Find out more about our Family department
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