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April 28, 2016

Equal Civil Partnerships legalised in the Isle of Man

The campaign for Equal Civil Partnerships is pleased to share with you the good news that both same-sex marriage and opposite-sex civil partnership are now legal on the Isle of Man.

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Amendment) Bill passed its third reading in the Legislative Council on 27th April 2016, with six votes for and three against. This is great news for equal marriage, equal civil partnerships and equal love. We hope that the example set by the Isle of Man will soon be followed in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

For more information, here is a link to a downloadable PDF of the Isle of Man’s Marriage and Civil Partnership (Amendment) Bill 2016. The key section is Schedule 3 “Consequential Amendments to Other Acts,” in which Paragraph 5 of the Civil Partnership Act 2011 is amended to omit “of the same sex,” meaning that a civil partnership is no longer restricted to only two people of the same sex.

The campaign for Equal Civil Partnerships has been asked whether those wanting to enter into a civil partnership could travel to the Isle of Man to form one, and then have it recognised here in England and Wales.

There are two parts to the answer:

1) Could any of us in England and Wales travel to the Isle of Man to form a civil partnership? The answer seems to be YES: According to the Isle of Man’s Civil Partnership Act 2011, one is required to reside in the Isle of Man for 7 days before giving notice of intent to form a civil partnership, and then spend a further 7 days waiting after giving notice. So one couldn’t fly there and back in the same day, but it might be possible (unless the Isle of Man authorities rejected a hotel or B&B as a residence).

See Isle of Man, CPA 2011, Part 2, Sections 9 and 12 here.

2) Would such a civil partnership be recognised in England and Wales? The answer seems to be NO: The view from our legal adviser is that different-sex civil partnerships from British territories (like the Isle of Man and Gibraltar) will most likely NOT be recognised in England and Wales, any more than different-sex CPs from the Netherlands, New Zealand, Malta, Estonia, Quebec, Chile, South Africa, etc. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 states “Two people are not to be treated as having formed a civil partnership as a result of having registered an overseas relationship if, at the critical time, they were not of the same sex under United Kingdom law.”

See UK, CPA 2004, Part 5 “Civil partnership formed or dissolved abroad,” Chapter 2, 216 (1)

So don’t go rushing off to the Isle of Man just yet!

We will of course let you know if we have any further news on this issue… Watch this space.