October 31, 2019
Victoria Atkins, Minister at the Home Office, has today confirmed, (31st October 2019), that mixed-sex civil partnerships will be able to take place in England and Wales by the end of the year.
“Our intention is to commence the regulations on 2nd December which would enable the first opposite-sex civil partnership ceremonies to take place on 31st December, given the usual 28 days notice period.”
Ms Atkins was speaking in the House of Commons during the reading and unanimous approval of the secondary regulations needed for the completion of the Bill. The final reading of the regulations will be heard in the House of Lords in the next few days.
During the debate, Ms Atkins confirmed that notice will be able to be given from 2nd December and in most circumstances, mixed-sex registrations can take place from 31st December. In cases of exceptional circumstances, such as terminal illness, the notice period may be able to be shortened or waived.
Ms Atkins further confirmed that civil partnerships already registered outside England and Wales, for example the Isle of Man, will automatically be recognised from 2nd December 2019. A list of countries and types of civil partnership can be found here http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2019/9780111190784/schedule/1
Finally Ms Atkins confirmed that the General Register Office will be in contact with all register offices in England and Wales and make them aware of the new regulations and dates.
October 21, 2019
The Government has today confirmed its intention to introduce the law change we want on 2 December 2019. If this happens – and given the requirement to give 28 days’ notice for a civil partnership – this means that mixed-sex couples will be allowed to form civil partnerships from 31 December, as the relevant Act decrees.
However, these are uncertain times in Parliament and there is a risk of delay.
We have been warned that, should there be an General Election, the parliamentary time given to the Bill might be delayed. Unfortunately this is out of our – and the Government Equality Office’s – hands.
If there is a General Election, the regulations would come into force on the day after the day they are made (i.e. signed by the Minister following the debates). It is possible that could be after 2 Dec, meaning those giving 28 days notice immediately will have to wait until early Jan for their Civil Partnership.
Martin Loat, Chair of the ECP campaign said, “We are pleased and relieved to have this information from the Government, having waited since the Bill received Royal Assent in March. While we obviously can’t do anything about the timing of a General Election, we would be disappointed if it meant a delay in people being able to give notice for their civil partnership. But this could happen.
Our current advice for couples wanting to book an early civil partnership would be to be aware of the 28 day gap between the law coming in and the ability to actually make a Civil Partnership.
Some will want to await the final date to avoid later disappointment.
We are aware that some people have already booked for 31stDecember or early in January and our hopes are with you that all regulations will be completed by 2 Dec to allow that to happen.”