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April 30, 2019

Letter to Registrar General

Equal Civil Partnerships Chair, Martin Loat, has written to the Registrar General asking for clarity and guidance for supporters in registering mixed-sex civil partnerships.

“I am writing as the chair of the Campaign for Equal Civil Partnerships.

“You will be aware that the Civil Partnerships, Marriages & Deaths (Registration Etc.) Act has received Royal Assent. It requires that civil partnerships be made available to mixed-sex as well as same-sex couples no later than 31st December 2019.

“Ministers have confirmed that the first mixed-sex civil partnerships must take place before the end of this year.

“As you can imagine, with over 3 million unmarried mixed-sex couples in the UK, there is widespread public interest in this change and we understand from our thousands of supporters that many have been in touch with local Register Offices to book dates. However, they have received inconsistent answers to their enquiries. Some offices have
accepted bookings for early 2020, while others who have refused even to consider applications for the moment and others have equivocated.

” I am therefore writing to you to ask:
• What guidance you have, or intend, to issue on this matter to ensure a consistent approach across England and Wales?
• How will you ensure that the Government’s commitment to enable the first mixed-sex civil partnerships to take place by the end of 2019 is met?
• Will you instruct local Register offices to accept bookings now for 31st December 2019 onwards, in compliance with legislation?
• What provision, if any, will there be for “fast-tracking” or waiving notice periods in special cases?

“This is not just a technical matter. We are aware of at least one couple who have been together for thirty years, one of whom has terminal cancer. Understandably they are very anxious to be able to have a civil partnership to make their union legal as soon as possible. Time is of the essence in cases such as this.

“We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your guidance and to ensure clarity to the many thousands who have a direct interest in this.”