Civil Partnership - The UK's ground-breaking Civil Partnership Bill, introduced into the House of Lords on 30 March 2004, received Royal Assent from the Queen on 18 November 2004 and the Government expects the Civil Partnership Act to be brought into effect either at the end of 2005 or early 2006.
According to the Government's "Women & Equality Unit" website:
"Passage of the Act followed a vote by the House of Lords on 17 November to accept amendments made to the Bill by the House of Commons. An attempt to delay the Act from coming into effect, until some of the rights afforded to civil partners were extended to certain family members under a separate scheme, was defeated by 251 to 136 votes.
Jacqui Smith, the Minister for Equality, said:
"This is one of the most significant pieces of social legislation the Government has introduced. The Civil Partnership Act sends a clear message that we value and support the contribution committed same-sex couples make to each other and to our society.
“A loving relationship, whether of opposite-sex couples or same-sex couples, benefits society as a whole and I am delighted that this Act is now on the statute book.
“I hope this Act will help create a more equal society. It opens the way to respect, recognition and justice for those who have been denied them for too long.”
The Act creates a new legal relationship of civil partnership, which two people of the same-sex can form by signing a registration document. It also provides same-sex couples who form a civil partnership with parity of treatment in a wide range of legal matters with those opposite-sex couples who enter into a civil marriage.
Important rights and responsibilities will flow from forming a civil partnership, helping same-sex couples to organise their lives together. Provisions in the Act include:
- a duty to provide reasonable maintenance for your civil partner and any children of the family;
- civil partners to be assessed in the same way as spouses for child support;
- equitable treatment for the purposes of life assurance;
- employment and pension benefits;
- recognition under intestacy rules;
- access to fatal accidents compensation;
- protection from domestic violence; and
- recognition for immigration and nationality purposes."
You can download the Civil Partnership Bill (as introduced in March 2004) from the UK Parliament's website by clicking HERE .