A new Bill geared towards extending civil partnerships to heterosexual couples has been gathering momentum in recent weeks.
The Private Members Bill, spearheaded by Conservative MP Tim Loughton, could potentially enable mixed-sex couples who do not wish to marry to enter into a civil partnership.
This would allow straight cohabiting couples who are worried about the lack of protection extended to cohabitees by the law to secure the same legal rights as married couples through a civil partnership.
Civil partnerships were initially introduced for same-sex couples in 2004, prior to the introduction of same-sex marriage.
However, the partnerships have faced much criticism in recent years, due to the fact that they are unavailable to straight couples
One heterosexual couple, Mr Charles Keidan and Ms Rebecca Steinfeld, have famously been embroiled in a long-running legal battle campaigning for change.
The duo, who lost the last round of their legal fight, are due to challenge the Government at the Supreme Court in 2018, amid concerns that their human rights have been violated.
Supporters of the extension of civil partnerships to mixed-sex couples range from Education Secretary Justine Greening to millions of cohabiting couples all across the UK.
MP Tim Loughton’s landmark Bill will receive a second reading in February 2018 – and is expected to receive widespread Government support.
Unveiling the Bill earlier this year, he said: “There are 2.9 million cohabiting couples in the UK, around half with children, who for a variety of reasons choose not to get married and often only find out too late that there is no such thing as a ‘common law spouse’ and they have no protection under the law.
“A recent High Court case urged the Government to resolve this anomaly and my Bill would do that,” he said.
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