Mayor of London wants civil partnerships for straight couples

The Mayor of London has backed calls for opposite-sex couples to be able to enter civil partnerships, which are currently restricted to gay couples.

Civil partnerships were introduced as under Tony Blair’s premiership in 2004 to allow gay unions ‘separate’ from marriage.

Following the introduction of same-sex marriage in England and Wales in 2014, the government opted to preserve civil partnerships as an option for same-sex couples, rather than close them off to new couples or abolish them.

A legal challenge was filed to open up civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples too, which is currently before the courts.

Following a debate on the issue in the London Assembly, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has expressed his support for civil partnerships being opened up to all couples.

The Mayor confirmed: “I have written to [civil partnerships campaigner] Charles Keidan expressing my support of the Equal Civil Partnerships Campaign. I am passionate about achieving equality for everyone and this means giving mixed-sex couples the right to a civil partnership.

“I recognise that there are many reasons why some people may not want to enter into a traditional marriage, and agree that everyone should have the right to express their relationship in a loving union that works for them.

“I will express my support for the introduction of Equal Civil Partnerships to the government, should the Court of Appeal reject this couple’s application to form a civil partnership. All couples, regardless of sex or sexual orientation, should be equal before the law.”

The response came after a call motion from Green Party Assembly Member Caroline Russell and Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon.

Caroline Russell said: “Whatever the outcome of the case currently being heard by the Court of Appeal we must be unequivocal in our support for different-sex couples forming civil partnerships.

“For true equality the law should properly reflect the values modern couples hold, and their desire to have these principles reflected in the legal recognition of their relationships.

“London is a forward-facing city and I am glad the Mayor has listened to us and will not hesitate to push for this next step to provide a legal alternative to marriage.”

Caroline Pidgeon added: “There is a strong case that extending civil partnerships would help ensure greater stability for many families. If just one in 10 cohabiting opposite-sex couples entered into a civil partnership, that would amount to legal protection for some 300,000 couples and their children.

“Couples of the opposite sex should be able to formalise their commitment to their partner and have the same rights, responsibilities and protections in the eyes of law that exist for same sex couples who already have the choice of entering into a civil partnership or into marriage.2