Heterosexual couples across England and Wales will soon be able to choose to enter into civil partnerships instead of marriage. Civil partnerships will provide heterosexual couples with financial advantages which, until now, were only available through marriage.
At present, heterosexual couples who choose not to marry are not entitled to the inheritance tax exemption or the marriage income tax allowance. Unmarried couples also do not have the right to inherit their partner’s estate.
Civil partnerships were introduced in the UK in 2004 for same-sex couples, who at the time were unable to marry. This changed in 2013 when the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 was introduced in England and Wales, legalising marriage for same-sex couples. These changes resulted in same-sex couples being able to choose between marriage or civil partnership.
This reform is being introduced to ensure equality for all couples in England and Wales and comes after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan having a civil partnership in June this year. It was ruled that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 was incompatible with the European Convention of Human Rights.
In a statement, Theresa May said: “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.”
The proposed change has been promised to be put into action as quickly as possible. The government are currently consulting on the technical detail of legal issues surrounding pensions and family law.
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