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First couples enter into opposite sex civil partnerships

Civil partnership ceremonies begin today

Civil partnerships for opposite sex couples will begin today following Parliament's October decision to extend civil partnerships from same sex couples only. Entering into a civil partnership will grant couples similar rights to married couples.

Alison and David are among the first couples to enter into an opposite sex civil partnership, stating,

"We would have preferred legislation to give long term cohabiting couples the same rights as married couples or civil partners.  That said we are grateful to those who have fought hard for us to have the same rights to civil partnership as same sex couples have had for many years. Entering into a civil partnership will give us extra security not available to cohabiting couples. There are inheritance tax advantages and we will have additional pension rights. Also we believe that trustees who administer the proceeds of insurance policies may not recognise cohabiting couples as being on the same footing as married or civil partners. We've had lasting powers of attorney for many years which gave us rights to have a say over each other's health and financial affairs (should this have become necessary) and we still think these are very valuable but being civil partners should make it simpler to deal with health and other professionals."

Couples entering into civil partnerships will need to draw up new wills as any existing wills automatically become void.

The Independent reports that Chelsea Register Office has allegedly warned couples that they need to re-register their children's births under the 1976 Legitimacy Act or risk being fined £2. While the 1976 Legitimacy Act is still law, the legal differences between children born to married or unmarried parents were removed by the Family Law Reform Act 1987.