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January 19, 2021

What does 2021 hold for mixed-sex civil partnerships?

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 hello@equalcivilpartnerships.org.uk

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.

Or
Give a one-off donation via our GoFundMe page

December 11, 2020

ECP branded goodies – great gifts and stocking fillers!

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 hello@equalcivilpartnerships.org.uk and we’ll put them on our social media! Happy shopping!

December 4, 2020

#RateYourRegisterOffice

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

Donate Your Civil Partnership

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 hello@equalcivilpartnerships.org.uk 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

Law Commission Consultation on Weddings Law

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 hello@equalcivilpartnerships.org.uk and mark the subject as Law Commission Consultation

You can read the full consultation and proposals here

October 7, 2020

Become a regular supporter of ECP and receive a gift from us

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.

Donate £5/month to receive cute pin badge
Donate £10/month to receive fridge magnet and sticker
Donate £20/month to receive a stylish tote bag
October 2, 2020

167 Mixed-sex civil partnerships on New Year’s Eve

It truly was #ADateToCelebrate! ONS figures for 2019 have confirmed that 167 couples formed a mixed-sex civil partnership on 31st December 2019.

The latest figures on civil partnerships for 2019, released by the ONS, reveal that the number of same-sex civil partnership has maintained a slight increase in popularity. Nearly 1000 same-sex couples registered their civil partnership during the year, an increase of 4% on 2018. We offer our congratulations to them all.

To our trailblazers, the lucky couples who managed to secure a New Year’s Eve registration, we give our hugest congratulations as a campaign. We celebrate with you all.

September 18, 2020

Law Commission Review

The Law Commission, at the behest of the Government is conducting a review of how marriages (sic) can be reviewed and modernised to reflect a changing world and to offer more choice.

There are three key areas which we have been given to understand will affect civil partnerships as well as marriages

  • Giving notice
  • Venue
  • Provision in case of future national emergency

We’d love to hear the views of the ECP community so email us with your thoughts on hello@equalcivilpartnerships.org.uk

Giving Notice – suggestions for change include

  • Requirement to be resident for 7 days before giving notice to be abolished
  • Notice period to be started by giving notice on form and face to face interview to be carried out during notice period, not starting it
  • Ability for face to face interviews to be carried out remotely.

Venue – Suggestions for change include

  • Removing restrictions on venues so that, in theory, they can be allowed anywhere
  • Specific areas mentioned are homes, gardens, outdoors, on inland waters, in the air
  • Removing current restriction that venue has to be regularly available to public (eg hotel, museum)

Provision for future National emergency – Suggestions for change include

  • Removing the 12 month expiry of notice period until after the end of the emergency so couples do not have to pay/give notice again
  • Giving notice and/or Registration being able to be carried out remotely
  • Use of venues cited in the venue change section to offer safer environments (eg outside)

We’d love to know what you think! Send us your views on these proposals to hello@equalcivilpartnerships.org.uk

August 23, 2020

Become Regular Supporter of ECP with Direct Debit Scheme

Whilst the right to have a civil partnership for mixed-sex couples has been gained, the campaign continues. We continue to fight to ensure that register offices recognise and treat registrations as a separate but equal relationship to marriage and to tackle organisations on your behalf to ensure legal and financial parity with marriage.

We rely solely on donations now to continue our work and are grateful for any financial support that you can give. To enable us to plan in the longer term and to know that we have a secure funding stream, we have set up several direct debit options which allows supporters to commit to a regular monthly sum.

July 27, 2020

Witness Registration Scheme Open

Provision of witnesses is a question that frequently comes up on our channels and before lockdown we were able to help some couples to find witnesses from our community. As civil partnerships can once be registered, we have created a witness database so that we can more quickly match people to location and availability as needed.

We know that many couples planning a civil partnership only want the simplest registration and for many reasons choose to have civil partnership supporting ‘strangers’ rather than having to select from family and friends. We have frequently received messages wishing that provision of witnesses could be done by the register office itself. It can’t – but we can help!

If, for any reason, you would like us to help you find one or two witnesses for your registration, please send us details of your request.

If you are able to help and would like to be on a witness database, please provide us with details of your location and normal availability. You don’t need to have had or to be planning your own civil partnership as long as you are sympathetic! Let us know whether you are normally able to provide one or two witnesses.

As ever, we are only able to continue to provide these services through the generosity of our supporters. If you benefit from our witness registration scheme, please do consider donating any sum you are able to.