Parliament is set to debate a bill which would extend civil partnerships to heterosexual couples next week.
The proposed law would remove the phrase “same sex” from existing legislation on civil partnerships. It was filed by Tim Loughton, Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham.
Civil partnerships were introduced to England and Wales in 2004 as a way for gay couples to formalise their relationship. However, in 2013, the introduction of same sex marriage gave gay couples the additional option of full marriage.
While many welcomed the legalisation of gay marriage, some complained that the law was now unfair to straight couples because they did not have the same options which were available to gay people.
Last year, a heterosexual couple who did not agree with the “patriarchal” tradition of marriage unsuccessfully attempted to enter into a civil partnership. Once they were rejected, they launched a legal challenge to the restrictions.
Mr Loughton was an opponent of same sex marriage. In 2013, he wrote that the current laws have created “a new and substantial inequality” because they did open up civil partnerships to straight couples. He is not the only MP to have pressed the issue. Back in 2011, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas urged the government to change the law.
The ‘Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill’ will be debated in the House of Commons on Wednesday 21 October.