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Second Reading of Civil Partnership 2004 (Amendment) Bill deferred to 12 May 2017

The Second Reading of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill, scheduled for 24 March 2017, has been deferred to 12 May 2017. The Bill, if enacted, would amend the Civil Partnership Act 2004 to extend the availability of civil partnership to opposite sex couples.

In 2014 the government consulted about the future of civil partnerships in the light of the introduction of same sex marriage. It found that there was no consensus as to the way forward and decided to make no changes to the law at that time. The current state of the law was challenged unsuccessfully in Steinfeld and Keidan v Secretary of State for Education [2017] EWCA Civ 81. The majority of the Court of Appeal concluded that the Government's policy of 'wait and see' justified the different treatment of opposite sex and same sex couples.

Tim Loughton MP, sponsor of the Bill, has said:

"Not only is it clear that extending civil partnerships is a popular idea, it's also a straightforward and simple process."

For a recently published article about civil partnership for opposite sex couples, by David Bedingfield, click here.