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December 20, 2018

Scottish Consultation on Mixed-Sex Civil Partnerships

Whilst the Private Members Bill currently going through Parliament in Westminster will allow mixed-sex civil partnerships in England and Wales, the issue comes under family law and is, therefore, a devolved matter. The Scottish Government is conducting a consultation with public input due to end on Friday 21st December. To ensure compatibility with the Supreme Court ruling in June, the conclusion will be all civil partnership to be allowed or single-sex partnerships to be no longer allowed.

Please do complete and share the consultation on civil partnerships before the end of 21st December.

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, on behalf of the #equalcivilpartnerships Campaign Group and all couples looking to enter into a civil partnership, have sent this letter today to The Scotsman Newspaper.

Dear Editor

Like millions of others across the UK, we are a couple who live together, own a house together and have children together but we are not married.

Were we to get married and one of us died or we separated, the law would provide the protection of tax-free inheritance, bereavement benefits or access to children.  But we don’t want to get married as a civil partnership would, for us, offer a appropriate alternative for our family.

So, with the support of the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign, the UK Supreme Court ruled unanimously in June that couples like us should have the same alternative of a civil partnership that is available to same sex couples. The judgment said it was unlawful and simply unfair to treat couples differently based on their sexual orientation. 

In October, the Prime Minister announced her intention to extend civil partnerships in England and Wales to all, and legislation is proceeding in Westminster.

Yet in Scotland, the Government is still consulting on how to change the law. Its consultation paper – which closes for comments today [Friday 21st December] – still offers the option of ending civil partnerships altogether, which would be desperately unfair to all those same-sex couples who have or want a civil partnership.  That’s not what we want. We want there to be more choice not less.  

So we strongly urge every Scottish couple in a similar position to ours to respond to the consultation today at https://consult.gov.scot/family-law/the-future-of-civil-partnership-in-scotland/ to tell the Government to extend the right to a civil partnership to all.

It’s time for the Scottish Government to act.

Yours sincerely

Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld