Government to make no changes to civil partnerships following consultation

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Following a consultation into the future of civil partnerships, the Government has announced that the legislation will remain in place, unaltered.

The Government consultation into the future of civil partnerships closed in April.

The results were announced by Helen Grant, Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, alongside a review into marriages by non-religious belief organisations.

In a written response to the consultation today, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), revealed the results of the consultation.

The document from the DCMS read: “We have now analysed responses to the consultation on the Civil Partnership Act 2004. A majority of respondents who expressed a view on them were opposed to each of the three main changes to civil partnership. There was therefore no united call for change from respondents to the consultation at this stage.”

Out of more than 10,000 responses, less than a third wanted to abolish civil partnerships, a majority were against ‘grandfathering’ the legislation, meaning no new civil partnerships would be entered, and more than 75% were against opening up civil partnerships to straight couples.

The document goes on to note that “several important organisations thought it was too soon to consider making changes to civil partnership”, but notes that others did make the case for extending civil partnerships to straight couples.

The Government vows to monitor the situation going forward, as more gay couples enter into marriages, some into civil partnerships, and some convert their civil partnerships to marriage from 10 December, as announced by Minister for Equalities Sajid Javid today.

The document confirms: “Given the lack of consensus on the way forward, the Government will not be making any changes.”

A day before same-sex marriage took effect in England and Wales, Labour’s shadow Equalities Minister Gloria De Piero wrote an open letter to Maria Miller, then Culture Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, to urge her to “publish a clear timetable” for the changes to be made, in order to allow those in civil partnerships to convert.

“It is unclear why these provisions are taking so long to implement”, she wrote.

A straight couple from London in March  announced their engagement, but said that they would get civilly partnered rather than married, in order to push for full marriage equality.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell repeatedly called for the coalition’s equal marriage plans to include civil partnerships for heterosexuals.

He criticised then Culture Secretary and Minister for Equalities, Maria Miller, for ruling out the measure during the same-sex marriage debate.