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Commons approves amendments to Civil Partnerships Bill

Regulations to be introduced by end of year

The House of Commons has approved amendments made by the House of Lords to the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill. The Bill now requires only Royal Assent.

Clause 2 of the Bill, in its approved form, would require the Secretary of State to make and bring into force regulations by 31 December 2019 to extend civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples. Before making the regulations, the government would be required to consult upon them.

On behalf of the government, Ben Wallace, Minister of State for Security in the Home Office, confirmed the government's support for the Bill. Outlining the amount of work needed to be done in order to implement the legislation, he listed 'complex issues' that needed to be resolved, including the formation, dissolution and voiding of civil partnerships, considering what religious protection should be put in place, the implications for private sector, state and public sector pensions, other financial entitlements such as tax credits, capital gains tax and housing benefits, international recognition of relationships formed here and abroad, the consequences for a civil partnership of one partner seeking a gender recognition certificate, devolution issues, conversion rights between civil partnerships and marriages and vice versa, checking references to civil partnerships within other legislation and drafting the necessary amendments, as well as the drafting and scrutiny of the necessary regulations. The government expects to receive thousands of responses to the consultation, which will need to be considered. Notwithstanding the work to be done, the minister confirmed that opposite-sex couples would be able to register civil partnerships by the end of the year.

To follow progress of the Bill, click here. For the Hansard record of the debate, click here. To watch the debate on Parliament TV, click here. For a briefing prepared for the latest Commons debate, click here.

15/3/19 (link to Hansard added, 18/3/19)