The Scottish government has introduced the Civil Partnership Bill to the Scottish Parliament, which will enable mixed sex couples to enter civil partnerships.
The Bill has been introduced following a government consultation on whether civil partnership should be abandoned altogether or made available to mixed sex couples, after the Supreme Court ruled that the introduction of same sex marriages had rendered the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004) incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) on equality grounds.
Civil partnership in Scotland was introduced for same sex couples by the Civil Partnership Act 2004. This Act extends across the UK and took effect from 5 December 2005. Civil partnerships are created by registration.
The Marriage and Civil Partnership Act introduced marriage for same-sex couples in 2014 in addition to the option of a civil partnership, which had been introduced in 2004.
Shirley-Anne Somerville, the cabinet secretary for social security and older people, said it was a ‘ground-breaking change for Scotland’.
‘We will be providing people with the option to enter into a legally recognised relationship which reflects their personal views,’ she added.
‘We wanted to ensure all voices were heard in regard to the future of civil partnership in Scotland and we have listened very carefully to the views of respondents to the consultation.
‘This is about ensuring we are compatible with ECHR law and creating an inclusive, fairer Scotland which promotes equality of choice and human rights for everyone.’
The UK Government has also announced it will make mixed-sex civil partnership available in England and Wales by the end of 2019 and will introduce them through secondary legislation.