The Civil Partnership (Opposite-Sex Couples) Regulations 2019 were made on 5 November 2019 and came into force on 2 December 2019, meaning that the first civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples in England and Wales took place over the festive season.

Following on from our previous article, Civil Partnerships – correcting the current imbalance, we summarise the key provisions of the new Regulations below:

  • Certain opposite-sex relationships, which are not marriages and were formed outside of England and Wales, can now be recognised as civil partnerships in England and Wales;
  • Religious premises can choose whether to seek approval to register all civil partnerships, civil partnerships for same-sex couples only, or civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples only. Religious organisations cannot be compelled to allow their premises to be used for all civil partnerships, same-sex civil partnerships, or opposite-sex civil partnerships;
  • The Regulations have amended relevant legislation so that opposite-sex parents in civil partnerships generally have the same rights as opposite-sex married parents;
  • Individuals can now apply for a gender recognition certificate to change their sex and gender in law without first having to dissolve their civil partnership, provided that the other civil partner consents;
  • Currently, only same-sex couples may convert their civil partnerships to marriage, although this is pending the outcome of a public consultation on the future of conversion rights; and
  • The current provisions recognising the dissolution, annulment or legal separation of a civil partnership granted overseas now apply to opposite-sex couples as they do to same-sex couples.

Opposite-sex civil partnerships are not yet legal in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but it is expected that they will soon be legalised.

For more information

For further information on the legal differences between marriage and civil partnerships please contact one of our specialist private legal services lawyers who will be more than happy to advise and assist you.