Mixed-sex couples can now become civil partners. Previously, the law only allowed same-sex couples to be civil partners.
Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, who won a legal battle for the right to heterosexual civil partnerships, were among the first couples to celebrate their civil partnership.
Speaking on the steps of the register office, Ms Steinfeld said their "personal wish" to form a civil partnership came from a "desire to formalise our relationship in a more modern way, with a focus on equality, and mutual respect".
Many unmarried couples mistakenly believe they are already protected by so-called "common law marriages" but these do not exist. This has led to devastating results when the couple splits up, especially after a long relationship or where there are children.
Introduced for same-sex couples in 2005, civil partnerships offer almost identical rights as marriage, including property, inheritance and tax entitlements. Entering into a civil partnership now offers heterosexual couples a way of overcoming this without having to repeat the girls and promises of a traditional marriage.
"It's more about the equality of a partnership than the marriage." said Dr Mary Lund, someone else to went through a civil partnership ceremony when the legislation was introduced on 31 December 2019.
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