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Mixed sex couples to get right to civil partnerships

October 4, 2018

Theresa May has used the Conservative Party conference currently being held in Birmingham to announce that the law will be changed to give mixed sex couples the right to enter civil partnerships.  This is intended to address the current inequality which allows same sex couples to choose to marry or enter a civil partnership whereas mixed sex couples can only marry.   Legislation and technical points still need to be agreed but it is hoped that this will be a big step forward in providing much needed rights to thousands of cohabiting couples in England and Wales.

The move has been prompted by the Supreme Court ruling in June 2018 which found that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 did not uphold the principles enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.  The case was brought before the court by a mixed sex couple, Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, who did not want to marry but did want the rights and protection offered by a civil partnership.

Kathryn Ferris, head of our Family Department says, “This is an important move on the part of the government. Many families continue to believe the myth of the common law spouse and it is only when relationships fall apart that they realise that their rights and the protection offered to them are in no way comparable to those of married couples. It is too late by then and can present particular difficulties where children are involved. Where couples are committed to each other but don’t wish to marry then civil partnership is an option providing similar financial and legal security which should help to alleviate some of these problems.

If you would like to discuss your matter, please call 0121 705 7571 and ask to speak to a member of the Family law team or email us at

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