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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.

July 8, 2020

New way to donate to campaign

We absolutely hate having to ask our supporters for donations but the simple truth is that we no longer have access to the grants which, together with generous contributions from you all via GoFundMe and CrowJustice, have sustained the campaign for the past few years.

As we move forward, embedding mixed-sex civil partnerships into the fabric of UK life and ensuring our supporters enjoy the registration and the legal security they want, we do need continued financial support to keep the campaign running.

That is why we have created an additional method for supporters to donate easily and regularly. If you are able to commit to a monthly donation of £10, please consider using our new direct debit option – sign up here

If you prefer to make a single donation, please donate here.

However and how much you donate, be assured we are very grateful as are all the couple who have been able to have a mixed-sex civil partnership so far and all those who plan to in the future.

July 6, 2020

Welcome, Amy, new campaign lead

Equal Civil Partnerships are delighted to introduce Amy Grant as our new member of the team in the role as Campaign Lead.

Amy, working as a volunteer, joins Martin Loat, Campaign Chairman and Anni Johnson, Campaign Manager, to take the campaign through to its next phase, establishing mixed-sex civil partnerships within the UK and supporting all our couples on their journey to legal recognition.

Amy, with her partner, Ben has supported the campaign since the start and is a familiar face, having generously allowed us to use their story to publicise the need for mixed-sex civil partnerships and having spoken to traditional and online media, including the BBC, the Guardian and Huff Post, on behalf of Equal Civil Partnerships.

Read Amy’s plans for the future of the campaign and just why it’s so important to her on our home page http://equalcivilpartnerships.org.uk/

May 4, 2020

Allow Digital Registrations during Lockdown

These are strange and worrying times and the first message I have for you all is the fervent wish that all in our civil partnerships community together with your loved ones stay safe. We know from our social media feeds how supportive the community is and we are grateful for it at times like this.

As an organisation we have had a lot to do with register offices and the General Register Office over the last few months! Again, we have nothing but sympathy and respect for registrars trying to keep staff safe as well as dealing with the tragedy of increased death registrations.

Many of you have had the disappointment of having your civil partnership notice or registration cancelled. We are aware that this isn’t merely a happy occasion you’ve had to forego for the time being. You have had to also postpone the opportunity to form a registered relationship and the knowledge that financially and legally you and your family are protected should the worst happen.

We asked for stories of why this affects you and we have been inundated. We know that many of you are key-workers, including in healthcare and want to ensure your partner and children have financial peace of mind as you are risking your health to care for others. We know that many of you are older or have compromised immune systems making you worry that you are in the at-risk groups.

This is why we are campaigning for the introduction of digital registrations (via video call platforms) during the period of lockdown. New York State has managed to achieve this and our fervent hope is that we can do the same here. We have set up a petition on change.org – Please do sign and share it.

https://www.change.org/p/myrle-lloyd-registrar-general-allow-digital-registrations-for-civil-partnerships-marriages-during-lockdown

Thank you and best wishes to you all from myself and the rest of the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign team at this difficult time.

Martin Loat

Chairman, Equal Civil Partnerships

March 20, 2020

Rate your register office

As we approach 100 days of mixed-sex civil partnerships, we want to understand how register offices are coping with the new legal relationship. Now is the chance to have your say.

Take a couple of minutes to fill in our online form – let us know how your register office has done in terms of ease of booking, availability and staff awareness.

We aim to be able to publish a top – and bottom – five register offices by the time we celebrate 100 days so please help us.

Be assured that we will never publish personal details or information which could identify you unless you have given us permission.

March 16, 2020

75 Days of Mixed—Sex Civil Partnerships

Thanks to donations from our supporters. Please do continue to help.

As we pass 75 days of mixed-sex civil partnerships and look forward to reaching 100 days,  we are reflecting on all we have done and all we still want to do with the material and emotional help of our supporters.

Mixed-sex civil partnerships were introduced on 31st December 2019. Since then the ECP campaign has continued our work albeit with only one part-time member of staff.

Since 31st December we have

  • Continued to raise the profile and awareness of mixed-sex civil partnerships in mainstream media e.g. Valentine’s Day special on Victoria Derbyshire show
  • Fought for the rights of mixed-sex couples to have the simple registration and respect accorded them for their choice e.g. contacting register offices directly on your behalf
  • Helped with the bill to bring mixed-sex civil partnerships to Scotland e.g. Martin Loat, Chairman of ECP, has given evidence in person to the Equalities and Human Rights Committee
  • Continued to build a strong supportive mixed-sex civil partnership community, celebrating each others’ registrations, answering questions and providing help in finding witnesses among many other benefits.

As we approach the 100 days anniversary, we are planning to find out more about your experiences, create a top five list of most helpful register offices – and a bottom 5! – and use the occasion to both make sure people know what their rights and options are and to put pressure on register offices to offer more availability for the simple registration.

To do this we need your support. We no longer have other funding than that donated by our supporters – anything you can donate will help us to continue for longer.

January 26, 2020

A Reply to the Church of England

The House of Bishops from the Church of England has released new pastoral guidance, saying that clergy must not provide a blessing for couples who have a mixed-sex civil partnership and that ‘marriage – that is the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows – remains the proper context for sexual activity.’

Chair of the ECP campaign, Martin Loat, provides this reply on behalf of the campaign.

The recent statement from the Bishops – coming less than a month after the legal introduction of civil partnerships for all –  makes the Church of England look even more out of step with the times. 


If anything it shows how much society needs fresh institutions that reflect how people live today. One such is civil partnerships – a modern alternative to marriage that allows couples in relationships to strike a legal union in a way that works for them.  


Quite apart from its long-running internal strife over same-sex relationships, the Church has now unnecessarily opened up a new battlefront with a larger group of people for whom a mixed-sex civil partnership represents a fitting and modern legal form for their commitment to each other. 


The Church seeks to defend traditional heterosexual marriage. But it is that anachronistic image of a bride being given away by a father to “obey” her husband as a dutiful wife that set many modern-day couples seeking a different path. 


And for the Church to tie itself in knots over “the appropriate place for sexual activity” only adds to that disillusionment.


The Government forecast that up to 84,000 couples could form a mixed-sex civil partnership in England & Wales in 2020 after the law came into effect in December 2019.  


With the new legal protection, many will be planning to start a family. How will they explain to their children one day that the Church says that having sex in a civil partnership is “inappropriate”?  The truth is that they probably won’t bother.


It is the Church of England that looks marginalised as civil partnerships enter the mainstream of society. 

January 16, 2020

Help Make Civil Partnerships a Pillar of Society

With your help, we did it! Mixed-sex Civil Partnerships became a legal reality in England and Wales in in December 2019 and in Northern Ireland this January.

But there is more to do in building mixed-sex civil partnerships as a lasting and popular institution. We want to keep supporting the community we have built up, answer questions and keep fighting for the rights of people who want a civil partnership. We want to work in Scotland to ensure that mixed-sex civil partnerships are introduced there. We want to keep reminding institutions and the media that a new relationship is possible.

However, we have exhausted our funds and resources through our long five year campaign. To keep going – with a part-time staff of one – we need your help. So we are asking for your support again. If you have benefited or plan to benefit from our campaign and want others to as well, please donate £5, £10 or whatever you can so that we can continue to promote Civil Partnerships for all. 

Donations to the campaign can be made to https://www.gofundme.com/f/ECPcampaigns

Thank you for your support.

Everyone at the Equal Civil Partnerships Campaign team