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Scottish government to hold consultation on the future of civil partnerships

Scottish government to hold consultation on the future of civil partnerships

Edinburgh Scotland - Over 50s Travel

The Scottish government has launched a three-month investigation into the future of civil partnerships to decide their future.

The outcome means civil partnerships could either be extended to mixed-sex couples or phased out completely in Scotland.

This comes after a successful legal challenge by a mixed-sex couple on the grounds that civil partnerships were discriminatory, the Herald reports.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled that by not extending the option to mixed-sex couples, civil partnerships breached the grounds of equality laid out by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Straight couple Rebecca Stanfield and Charles Keidan brought the legal challenge in 2016.

Same basic rights as marriage

Civil partnerships were introduced in 2005 by the then-Labour government.

These unions are arrangements which were designed to give same-sex couples the same legal, tax and pension rights as married couples.

This was essentially seen as an olive branch to the LGBTI community, though while it provided the same basic rights, it stopped short of full marriage equality.

However, same-sex marriage was legalized in the UK in 2011 by the Conservative-led coalition government.

Since then, the number of couples applying for civil partnerships fallen.

Few takers…?

It is estimated that around 126,000 people have had civil partnerships in the UK since their introduction.

If the government phases out civil partnerships, this would be expected to take place over the course of two years as not to interfere with any potential plans of those still hoping for them.

If the option is extended then demand is expected to be low compared to conventional marriage.

In New Zealand, where both options are available, last year there were with 23,730 marriages compared to only 96 civil unions.

In Scotland, only 70 civil partnerships have been registered each year for the past two years.

However, Gay Star News poll taken in February showed that two-thirds of people who voted said they would care if the UK government were to scrap civil partnerships.