Credit: Chrysoulla Photography
We have achieved a huge success – now we move to the next stage for mixed-sex civil partnerships
Today is exactly two years since the UK Parliament passed the Civil Partnerships Bill. Since the Civil Partnerships Act came into force in December 2019, all couples have the choice of a civil partnership as a more modern, equal and feminist alternative to marriage.
With this change in the law, the primary objective of the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign was achieved and its formal work was done.
To ease the transition, our campaign continued to advise couples about the process of forming a civil partnership, to liaise with and support registry offices to fulfil their duties, to help couples find witnesses from within a like-minded community, to keep people informed of the changing advice due to the pandemic, to ask the Law Commission to ensure that forthcoming changes to marriage that will make it more accessible will be applied to civil partnerships too, and much more.
Now that civil partnerships have been available to all for over a year, albeit in circumstances that no one could have foreseen, we feel that it is the right time to close down the formal ‘campaigning’ part of Equal Civil Partnerships .
This does not mean the end of the movement for civil partnerships, but it does mark a new stage on the journey.
We are aware that there are important milestones still to come. Mixed-sex civil partnerships will be able to be registered in Scotland by the end of June, which will be the final step to ensure equal access to civil partnerships across the United Kingdom. We are also awaiting the Government’s decision on the right to convert marriages into civil partnerships (and vice-versa), so that those who are currently married but would prefer to be civilly partnered can change their status without having to first divorce. The campaigns team, including the indomitable Anni Johnson, will be on hand to co-ordinate our response to these live issues.
Beyond 2021, we are aware that we cannot take our collective achievement for granted. Civil partnerships still need to be celebrated and championed to ensure they become an enduring institution. While these bigger questions are beyond the scope of this campaign, we invite you to keep sharing stories of your own civil partnerships on Facebook and Twitter – using #ADateToCelebrate – and do tag us @EqualCPs. We will also continue to operate our own witness registration database so get in touch if you would like witnesses from the ECP community or feel you can provide this for other couples. Our Red Bubble shop remains open for you to buy ECP branded mugs, masks, phone covers etc – great gifts and ideal for CP registrations. Finally, do please get in contact with us – firstname.lastname@example.org – if you have problems of any kind with your register office. We want to ensure that we continue to raise awareness within register offices and highlight any problems.
Like us, please continue to champion civil partnerships among your friends and family.
Thank you for all your support over these last seven years. We could not have achieved this outcome without your commitment and support .
Rebecca Steinfeld, Charles Keidan, Fiona Millar, Martin Loat, Prof Robert Wintemute, Peter Tatchell, Elsie Owusu OBE
Equal Civil Partnerships Campaign Group