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Civil Partnerships Bill reaches report stage

New clause requires government to bring equality between between same-sex and other couples

The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill began its report stage on 26 October 2018. The Bill seeks to provide that opposite sex couples may enter a civil partnership; and to make provision about the registration of the names of the mother of each party to a marriage or civil partnership.

The Bill also makes provision about the registration of stillborn deaths and gives coroners the power to investigate stillborn deaths.

The Supreme Court decided in July 2018 that the current law on civil partnership is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights to the extent that it precludes opposite sex couples from entering into civil partnerships.

The Bill, as amended in Public Bill Committee, would require the Secretary of State to make arrangements for the preparation of a report "assessing how the law ought to be changed to bring about equality between same-sex couples and other couples in terms of their future ability or otherwise to form civil partnerships" and setting out the Government's plans for achieving that aim. The arrangements would have to provide for a public consultation. The Secretary of State would be required to lay the Report before Parliament.

A new clause "Reform of civil partnership" has been tabled for report stage of the Bill, in the names of Tim Loughton, the Bill's sponsor, and others, which would require the Secretary of State to make regulations, to take effect within six months of the Bill being passed, "to change the law relating to civil partnership to bring about equality between same-sex couples and other couples in terms of their future ability or otherwise to form civil partnerships".

For a House of Commons Library briefing about the matter, click here. To follow progress of the Bill, click here.

26/10/18