What’s the current situation?
Currently under UK law, all couples have the right to marry, however only same-sex couples are able to form civil partnerships.
In 2004, in response to a long running campaign by the LGBT+ community, the Civil Partnership Act was introduced to provide same sex-couples with a means of having their relationships legally recognised under the law.
However, whilst civil partnerships extended the same legal rights to same sex-couples that had, up until then, only been granted to opposite-sex couples via civil marriage, large sections of the LGBT+ community felt the introduction of a separate category of legal union was discriminatory in that it continued to reserve the age-old institution of marriage, with all the cultural significance it carries, for heterosexual couples only. Following highly effective campaigning by the LGBT+ community, and many supporters beyond, same-sex marriage was finally legalised in 2013, representing a huge step forward for equal rights in the UK.
As such, it is currently the case that under UK law all couples have the right to marry, however only same-sex couples are able to form civil partnerships.