March 15, 2019
Whilst other partnerships have been under intense debate in Parliament over the last few days, mixed-sex civil partnerships end the week on a triumphal high. The Private Members Bill, brought by Tim Loughton MP, received final Parliamentary approval in the House of Commons today. It will now become law – permitting the first mixed-sex civil partnerships in England and Wales by the end of the year.
Martin Loat, Chair of the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign, commented, “We have battled long and hard to achieve this victory. We congratulate Tim Loughton MP for his determined and skilled championing of this Private Members Bill through Parliament. The Government now plans a consultation to assess just how equal civil partnerships for all are going to work. The Equal Civil Partnership campaign will play a full part in this and will continue to speak up for our supporters.”
Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan have played a vital part in the campaign, taking the Government through the courts with a final win in the Supreme Court in June 2018 which helped to secure the safe passage of the Bill through parliament. They commented, “We are relieved that the Government finally listened to the Supreme Court and to the thousands of other couples like us who want the option of forming a civil partnership. We’re delighted that with the passing of today’s Bill, now, finally, we can start to plan our own celebrations. Against the headwinds of Brexit, it is a real tribute to what civic action, political commitment and most of all hard graft over many years can bring about. We thank everyone involved in this team effort.”
The Bill was taken through parliament as a Private Members Bill by Tim Loughton MP in the Commons and Baroness Fiona Hodgson in the Lords. Tim Loughton MP commented, “This has been a long and hard-fought journey, but will be well worth it for the recognition and stability it will provide many thousands of mixed-sex couples. I am grateful to the work done by the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign and all others who have supported us in securing this vitally important piece of legislation.”
His colleague in the House of Lords, Baroness Hodgson added, “It was a privilege to steer this Bill through the Lords. I have had a huge mailbag from people who are desperate to have a civil partnership and I hope it changes many people’s lives for the better.”
With 3.3 million unmarried couples living together in the UK and over 145,000 signatories on a Change.org petition calling for mixed-sex civil partnerships, the ruling is being welcomed on social media with couples delighting in #ADateToCelebrate. Couples like Joanna and Steve from Hebden Bridge who urgently need this new civil partnership law as Steve has terminal prostate cancer and the couple want legal security – without marriage – after thirty years together.