Straight couples will be able to get a civil partnership instead of getting married, Theresa May reveals

In the biggest shake up in 200 years, the Prime Minister said it would allow everyone to have the same opportunities and protections – whether they are gay or straight.

Currently only gay and lesbian couples are ­entitled to have such partnerships.

But Mrs May said today that all couples should get the choice between the two.

She told the Evening Standard: “This change in the law helps protect the interests of opposite-sex couples who want to commit, want to formalise their relationship but don’t necessarily want to get married.

“As home secretary, I was proud to sponsor the legislation that created equal marriage.

“Now, by extending civil partnerships, we are making sure that all couples, be they same-sex or opposite-sex, are given the same choices in life.”

What is a civil partnership?

A civil partnership is a relationship that is recognised by law between two people of the same sex who are not related to each other.

Each person entering into a civil partnership must be at least 16 years old but anybody below 18 will need parental consent.

One of the couple needs to be resident in the UK and they both have to be not already married or in a civil partnership.

Once in a civil partnership, the same-sex couple is then given equal treatment in a wide range of legal matters as married couples.

These legal matters can include tax, benefits, inheritance and fatal accident compensation.

The partnership is only ended when one of the couple dies or by applying to court to bring the partnership legally to an end.

Civil partnership is different to marriage as it is only available to same-sex couples.

However following a landmark ruling at the Supreme Court in June 2018, it could be rolled out to heterosexual couples as well.

There are several other small differences between the two types of union between couples.

In a civil partnership, it becomes legal when the second civil partner signs the relevant document to have the relationship recognised by law.

However, for marriage, it is only registered when the couple exchange spoken words.

Another difference is that those wanting to get married can opt for a religious or civil marriage.

Whereas a civil partnership is an exclusive civil ceremony.











Earlier this year a heterosexual couple won their legal bid to have a civil partnership in a breakthrough ruling at the UK’s highest court.

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favour of Charles Keidan, 41, and Rebecca Steinfeld, 37, who have been together for eight years and have two children.

The court said the Civil Partnership Act 2004, which applies to same-sex couples – is incompatible with the European Convention of Human Rights.

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