July 11, 2023
Congratulations to Martin Loat, former chair of the Equal Civil Partnerships Campaign, who has been awarded an OBE in the first King’s Birthday Honours list (published 16 June 2023) for “services to civil partnerships”.
While views of the UK Honours system will vary, the award acknowledges the hard work and commitment Martin put in during the active years of our campaign from 2015 to 2020.
He said; “I’m proud to be honoured in this way for my contribution. But the ECP campaign’s success was built on the principled stand and courage of Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan in taking the Government to court originally. And we needed Tim Loughton MP to push his private member’s bill through Parliament and into law. Recognition must go to them and the ECP steering group including Fiona Millar and our advisors and support team who made this success possible.”
January 7, 2022
The ONS has released figures for 2020, the first full year in which mixed-sex civil partnerships were allowed to be registered in England and Wales.
Despite the closure of register offices in March and then subsequent restrictions on number of guests able to attend, 7566 mixed-sex civil partnerships were formed.
2020 was not the ideal first year for mixed-sex civil partnerships that we had been hoping for. We are encouraged that over 15,000 people in England and Wales were able to form the legal and life relationship of their choice, ensuring security for themselves during a health crisis. Given the problems facing couples last year when civil partnerships were not allowed to go ahead at all – or with so many restrictions that many couples decided to wait – we don’t know how many more civil partnerships might otherwise have been formed.
We are delighted for each and every couple that registered their relationship during that difficult year.
March 15, 2021
Although we are taking a step back from active campaigning, we still want to play a role in supporting couples through their mixed-sex civil partnership registrations.
So get in touch to
- Celebrate your civil partnership on social media. Post directly on our facebook page or tag us on twitter @EqualCPs – don’t forget to use the hashtag #ADateToCelebrate
- Ask for our help in finding witnesses for your CP registration – we love to provide support from the community
- Sign up to the witness database if you’d like to help other couples
- Sign up to our mailing list to be kept up-to-date
- Let us know if you are having problems with a register office/other organisations – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Buy ECP branded goodies – mugs, masks, phone cases, clothing – they make great additions to a CP registration and wonderful presents
March 15, 2021
Today we publish a letter on the website from the ECP Campaign Team, explaining the current plans of the campaign and what we will be continuing to do as we move into the next stage.
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 – email@example.com – 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
January 19, 2021
Congratulations – and commiserations, We’re running out of ways to say 2020 was a year like no other but we do feel particularly for all the mixed-sex couples who have waited so long to register their civil partnership only to be paused by lockdowns and covid restrictions.
To those of you who were able to register your relationship, we are thrilled for you. Please continue to send in your photos for #ADateToCelebrate. There are far too many to post here and all are fantastic, we don’t want to single any out! Take a look through the pictures here
Email them and your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
ECP in 2020
Although mixed-sex civil partnerships became a legal reality at the very end of 2019, our work continued in 2020, ensuring that mixed-sex civil partnerships enjoy a high profile, building understanding and acceptance of them and fighting all discrimination from register offices, financial or legal organisations.
Some of our projects have included:
- Building a register of both couples who would like witnesses provided for them from the ECP community and supporters happy to witness for others. We have successfully matched up many couples already. Do sign up if you would like to help or be helped in this way.
- Campaigning for digital registration to provide legal and financial protection during a national crisis.
- Ensuring that civil partnerships receive due prominence through case histories in the media – particularly dealing with registrations having to be cancelled.
- Providing a voice for civil partnerships in the Law Commission’s review of protocols surrounding marriage
- Continuing to support mixed-sex civil partnerships in Scotland.
- Individual discussions with register offices/financial companies where communication or service has failed in understanding mixed-sex civil partnerships
- Undertaking #RateYourRegisterOffice, allowing us to celebrate those register offices who have been particularly helpful and to identify areas needing improvement.
- Creation of our shop allowing supporters to buy a range of ECP branded goodies from mugs to hoodies.
Some of the items available in our ECP shop
ECP in 2021
We hope that we will soon be able to celebrate registrations once again! And we are delighted that we are receiving our first anniversary celebration so do send us a picture of yours!
Plans for the year ahead include:
- Continuing to build our witness register database helping couples who would like us to provide witnesses
- Provide awareness training around mixed-sex civil partnerships for register offices. We will be proactively offering this to register offices who scored badly in #RateYourRegisterOffice but are already working with individual register offices who have already asked for help.
- Maintaining a help-desk for all queries relating to mixed-sex civil partnerships.
- Continuing to support, celebrate and to fight on your behalf where needed.
- Celebrating the start of mixed-sex civil partnerships in Scotland, due to become a reality in 2021.
How you can help us
If you have had your civil partnership in 2020, please donate to help us support other couples to have the Civil Partnership they have been waiting so long for. And if you weren’t able to go ahead with yours, your donation will allow us to support you when the time comes.
To support us
Give a regular monthly donation – and receive a free gift in return. It takes just 2 minutes to fill out the form.
Give a one-off donation via our GoFundMe page
December 11, 2020
Exciting news! We have teamed up with Red Bubble to produce a range of ECP branded goodies, just in time for Christmas. They make a great gift or stocking filler for the civil partner in your life – or a congratulations gift for couples who have formed a civil partnership in this first year of the legal relationship. Or just treat yourself! What could be better than relaxing with a cup of tea in an ECP mug?
All the items can be bought from our Red Bubble Shop Items include masks – very useful for covid restricted civil partnerships! – clothing, phone cases and furnishings. 20% of the cost of each item is returned to ECP for us to continue our mission to establish and embed mixed-sex civil partnerships as well as to help our couples solve any problems on the way.
And we’d love to see you using them! Send us your pictures to email@example.com and we’ll put them on our social media! Happy shopping!
December 4, 2020
Mixed-sex civil partnerships want to do things differently. That’s the key message behind our survey, asking mixed-sex couples to rate their experience of civil partnership registrations over the last year. Almost 77% of respondents chose the simple statutory ‘no frills’ registration in a working office with no vows and only the two witnesses present. This represents a huge shift change from both marriage and same-sex civil partnership.
Whilst all register offices must offer the simple option for registration, it has been a minority option for the existing legal relationships of marriage and same-sex civil partnerships. A further 14% of respondents to the survey complain that it is offered so infrequently or at such unfriendly times, that they were not able to take advantage of it; This correlates to the 14% of respondents who told us that they were not able to have the simple registration that they wanted.
The survey also highlighted the need for greater understanding of civil partnerships from registrars and register office staff. A regular complaint was terminology – couples objected to being called bride and groom with the registration referred to as a wedding. Complaints were also received about both websites and communications not being updated to include mixed-sex civil partnerships and no promotion of the simple registration on websites.
The news for register offices is not all bad. A total of 143 individual register offices were cited in the responses and scored across 5 different areas. 33 of these received perfect scores and over 100 received an average of 80% or above, indicating that on the whole, register offices have adapted well to the new legal relationship.
A further ground for celebration is the lengths to which registrars have gone to make registrations special even under restrictions. Respondents told us of emergency civil partnerships carried out prior to lockdown, guests face-timing in and windows being opened to allow guests outside to listen.
ECP campaign director, Fiona Millar, said “After so many years of campaigning, we are delighted that so many couples have had the registration they want. There is still work to be done, however. Our main ask would be for register offices to understand that the simple registration is going to be ever more popular and to offer greater flexibility and choice of times around it.”
October 20, 2020
Are you having a civil partnership but don’t want to receive any gifts? Why not ask friends and family to donate to our campaign instead? You can celebrate your union by helping as many people as possible hear about and get the chance to have a mixed-sex Civil Partnership!
We will set up a JustGiving page for the first 5 couples who want to do this and send them a free ECP mug to show our thanks. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line DONATE MY CIVIL PARTNERSHIP.
For anyone else, it takes less than 10 minutes to set up a page at https://www.justgiving.com.
Or you can simply ask loved ones to go directly to our Go Fund Me page and leave a donation in your name.
October 19, 2020
As we have previously reported the Law Commission are conducting a consultation on potential changes to weddings law (sic). Many of the proposals will affect civil partnerships, mixed and same-sex, and we have spoken to both the Law Commission and the General Equalities Office who have confirmed that there is an ‘assumed overlap’ between regulations for marriage and civil partnerships. The Law Commission are very keen to hear the views of the civil partnership community and have asked for our help in publicising the consultation.
After you have completed the opening obligatory segment https://consult.justice.gov.uk/law-commission/weddings/consultation/intro/ feel free to answer as few or as many questions as you wish. We think that couples wanting or who have had a mixed-sex civil partnership will be particularly interested in looking at the following areas.
Chapter 4 – Preliminaries – how and when to give notice https://consult.justice.gov.uk/law-commission/weddings/consultation/subpage.2020-06-25.9417192246/
Chapter 7 – Location, relaxing the rules on where registration can take place https://consult.justice.gov.uk/law-commission/weddings/consultation/subpage.2020-04-29.4120981016/
Q67, Chapter 11 – Special types of wedding, looking at how to manage in future national emergencies https://consult.justice.gov.uk/law-commission/weddings/consultation/subpage.2020-06-29.6847463031/
You might also be interested in Chapter 12 Fees https://consult.justice.gov.uk/law-commission/weddings/consultation/subpage.2020-05-01.5140518453/ and Chapter 13 Impacts https://consult.justice.gov.uk/law-commission/weddings/consultation/subpage.2020-06-30.0412691154/
We hope to send an ECP response on behalf of the campaign so do please let us know your views in any of the areas in which you feel strongly. Please email us at email@example.com and mark the subject as Law Commission Consultation
October 7, 2020
We have made no secret of the fact that, since the Bill completed its passage in 2019, making mixed-sex civil partnerships legal in England and Wales (shortly followed by Northern Ireland), we are no longer able to access grants or funding from charities.
The law has been passed but we continue to see the need for our support in the ECP community. We act as a help-desk to resolve queries; we act with the authority of a campaigning body to resolve issues on your behalf – with register offices or financial companies who do not recognise CPs as equal to marriage; we ensure a high profile in the media, continuing to educate about civil partnerships and secure their legacy; we operate the witness registration scheme which has proved so popular; we celebrate your civil partnerships and continue to build a supportive community.
Sign up today to give us a regular gift and you will receive some of our new ECP merch for free!
We do all this with one part-time paid member of staff. With funding low, we will arrive at the point where we cannot continue to offer these services.
If you value what we are doing, please help us to continue. We need your support to help us to continue to raise awareness of mixed-sex civil partnerships and to help couples to have the registration to which they are entitled.
Your chance to help other couples have the registration they want
We are asking supporters to sign up to commit a regular sum each month. If you have benefited or plan to benefit from what we do, please do consider a regular donation. In return we will send a thank-you gift of our specially branded ECP merchandise.