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Civil-partnerships


CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS

 

UPDATE:
Same-sex marriage is now legal in England,
Wales and Scotland but not Northern Ireland.**

Legislation to allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales was passed
by the United Kingdom Parliament in July 2013 and came into force on 13
March 2014. Scottish Parliament passed legislation in February 2014
which took effect on 16 December 2014.
Same-sex marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland. .

** UPDATE July
2019
–  Although same sex marriage is currently still
illegal in Northern Ireland steps are underway to change this; 
more information can be found

here
.

 

in UK Law, the Civil
Partnership Act 2004
, allows Same Sex couples to have a ‘Civil
Partnership’ ceremony, which is very similar to a registry office
wedding. The Civil Partnership Act came into force on the 5th December
2005, allowing for ceremonies to take place from the 21st December,
2005.

The service is actually performed by a
registrar in a registry office or licensed wedding venue, and this
ceremony will give the couple all of the same rights in law that a
married couple receive.

Having got over the first hurdle, you may
well be asking “Where do we go from here?”

Here are some answers to some general
questions which we hope will help get the all important preparations
underway.

holding hands

My
partner and I want to show our commitment to each other through
a marriage ceremony, is Gay Marriage possible yet?
 

Hurrah!
There HAS been a change in the Law which allows same sex couples to have
a ‘Civil Partnership’ ceremony, which is very similar to a registry
office wedding. 

The Civil
Partnership Act came into force on the 5th, allowing for ceremonies to
take place from the 21st December 2005.

The service
is actually performed by a registrar, and this ceremony will give the
couple all of the same rights in law that a married couple receive.
Financially, this can help to stabilise same sex couples lives, and can
mean benefits such as pensions or exemption from inheritance tax on
their partners property, should the unfortunate occur. The new law will
even allow the dissolve of this agreement, by way of a divorce.

What
is the difference between a homosexual civil partnership and a
heterosexual marriage?

two rings


The Civil
Partnership Act is a massive step forward within the gay community – it will
give gay couples the same property and inheritance rights as married
heterosexuals and entitles them to the same pension, immigration and tax
benefits
but,
unlike
in Belgium, Spain and Canada
,
it is not a marriage. 
 
The
procedure is ‘civil’ in Britain, with the partners merely signing documents,
whereas a marriage becomes binding when partners exchange spoken words in a
civil or religious ceremony.
 

Civil partners will have equal treatment in a wide range of legal matters
with married couples, including:-
 

  • Tax, including inheritance tax

  • Employment Benefits

  • Most state and occupational pension benefits

  • Income related benefits, tax credits and child support

  • Duty to provide reasonable maintenance for your civil
    partners and any children of the family

  • Ability to apply for parental responsibility for your
    civil partner’s child

  • Inheritance of a tenancy agreement

  • Recognition under intestacy rules

  • Access to fatal accidents compensation

  • Protection from domestic violence

  • Recognition from immigration and nationality purposes


 

graphic of a couple

We’ve decided to
register as Civil Partners, but have no idea what to do next. 

Where do we start?

You have to make some
fundamental decisions early on – such as:-

  • whether you want a
    small private ceremony or a big do

  • how much you can
    afford to spend

  • who you want to
    invite 

  • where you want to do
    the deed. 

You will need to
choose a venue
that is licensed for Civil Partnerships (any of
those that are licensed for civil marriages will be able to do this too)
and make a provisional booking before contacting your local Register
Office to book the services of a Registrar.

Then you can start planning
the details of the ceremony
, the guest list, catering,
entertainment, transport and so on, and organising a day to celebrate your
Partnership in style and leave your guests with warm and happy memories of
a unique event. 

If all this seems too much to
take on/too stressful and exhausting, consider using the services of a gay
organising company to handle some or all of the details

 

Where
can we celebrate our Civil Partnership Ceremony? 

In
our experience, some people can still be a bit homophobic – how can we
ensure that we don’t come across this type of supplier in our quest
for our dream day?

 

stately home

In
our experience, the wedding industry is not one of prejudice, so you
shouldn’t feel unable to simply call from our directory as normal.

You
can celebrate your civil partnership ceremony at a registry office or at
any venue which holds a civil wedding licence. There are 3,500 licensed
venues across the UK and some of those specifically gay friendly can be
found
here.

Whatever
you do don’t let any negative behaviour cast a d
ampener
on your big day!