As I’m sure you’re aware, the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc) Bill 2017-19 was recently debated and cleared in the House of Commons and is currently awaiting its second reading in the House of Lords. The passing of this Bill will legalise civil partnerships between mixed-sex couples.
As a country we have made welcome strides towards equality in law and in life. I am proud that many of these achievements were introduced by the previous Labour Government, including the creation of civil partnerships for same sex couples.
Since then we have seen Governments drag their feet on this issue. During the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 in the last Parliament, the Labour Party tabled an amendment to ensure that a review, including a public consultation, of the operation and future of civil partnerships would be undertaken as soon as possible.
Following this consultation, the Coalition Government stated in 2014 that it would not be making any changes to the law regarding civil partnerships, and the current Government has since reaffirmed this position. Indeed, only last year the Government stated that it believes the current availability of civil partnerships is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and had no plans to carry out another consultation on this issue or to make changes to the Civil Partnership Act 2004.
As such the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court in June of this year sighting the Civil Partnership Act 2004 as incompatible with the European Convention of Human Rights is both ground breaking and welcomed by myself and the Labour Party.
Although it is not likely to become legal for mixed sex couples to enter into civil partnerships until 2019, a huge step has been taken towards a more equitable system for everyone, I am thrilled at the outcome of this fantastic campaign.