Isle of Man introduces heterosexual civil partnerships

3 August 2016

The Isle of Man has brought in new legislation to allow couples of the opposite sex to enter into a civil partnership.

It is the first part of the British Isles to do so and follows its decision in May to legalise same-sex ‘marriage’.

Increased pressure

Holly Tootill, who is a family lawyer with JMW Solicitors, said that under current legislation in the UK, heterosexual couples entering a civil partnership in the Isle of Man would not be given the same legal protections as same-sex civil partners.

“It would appear that all this development provides English couples with is the opportunity to have their own distinct social position – being recognised as being more than cohabitees but less than a husband and wife,” she said.

It is expected that the decision to allow civil partnerships for both opposite sex and same-sex couples on the Isle of Man will increase pressure on mainland Britain to do the same.

Challenge to UK law on civil partnerships

The new legislation comes amidst a legal challenge to UK law on civil partnerships.

Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld, both from London, told the High Court in January that they are being discriminated against, because they are not allowed to enter into a civil partnership.

They have said that they want to be “partners in law“, but do not want to get married.

In 2014 they were told by Chelsea Register Office that they could not register a notice of intention to form a civil partnership because they were a man and a woman. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 requires that the partners be “two people of the same sex”.

They will appear before the Court of Appeal in November.

Bill to amend Civil Partnerships Act

A bill to amend the Civil Partnerships Act 2004, to allow opposite-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships, has passed its first reading in the House of Commons.

The second reading is expected next January.

Government ‘should not be diluting marriage further’

After they applied for judicial review in January, Christian Concern’s Chief Executive Andrea Williams commented:

“The government should not be diluting marriage further by offering civil partnerships for all couples. Rather, it should be doing more to protect and promote the God-given design of marriage, which has proven to be a solid foundation for family life and wider society for centuries.”

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