The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act comes into force on 26 May 2019.
The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill received Royal Assent on 26 March 2019, becoming the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act 2019 (CPMD 2019) and coming into force on 26 May 2019.
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 will be amended so that opposite-sex couples are now eligible to form a civil partnership in England and Wales (providing they are otherwise eligible to do so apart from the question of sex). The regulations must be in force by 31 December 2019.
The changes follow the Supreme Court's decision in Steinfeld and Keidan v Secretary of State for International Development; the parties sought judicial review of the government’s continuing decision not to make changes to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004) and as a result the government accepted that inequality exists in the treatment of same-sex and heterosexual couples.
The Supreme Court found that the government was not justified in spending years investigating how that inequality could be eliminated, after the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 was introduced, giving same-sex couples a choice to marry or enter into a civil partnership that was not open to heterosexual couples.
The court made a declaration that sections 1 and 3 of the CPA 2004 are incompatible with Article 14 (prohibition on discrimination) and Article 8 (right to respect for private life) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), to the extent that they preclude heterosexual couples from entering into civil partnerships.
The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act will have the following effects;
- to allow opposite sex couples to enter a civil partnership;
- to reform how marriages are registered, and register the names of the mother of each party in a marriage or civil partnership;
- to require the Secretary of State to report on whether the law should be changed to allow the registration of pregnancy losses which cannot be registered as still-births under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953;
- to report on giving coroners powers to investigate stillborn deaths.
Gepp Solicitors have a wealth of experience in family law and civil partnerships and are happy to assist with any enquiries. Email Filomena Sterkaj at Sterkajf@gepp.co.uk or call 01245 228106 today to speak to one of our experts.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.