Isle of Man first UK country to offer Civil Partnerships to heterosexual couples
Later this week, the Isle of Man will become the last country in the UK to legalise same-sex marriage – and the first to open up Civil Partnerships to heterosexual couples as an alternative to traditional marriage.
Dubbed an ‘historic moment’ by Chief Minister Allan Bell CBE MHK, the final implementation of the Marriage and Civil Partnership Amendment Act will take effect on Friday 22 July.
By law, Civil Partnerships have been available in the UK since 2005, and in the Isle of Man since 2010 – but only to same-sex couples.
In recent years, numerous heterosexual couples seeking the same rights as same-sex couples in a civil union without entering into a traditional marriage, have protested against this.
A long-running legal battle between academics, Ms Rebecca Steinfeld and Dr Charles Keidan, attracted much media attention earlier this year.
The duo, who said that they objected to the history and institution of marriage and argued that they and others faced discrimination by the exclusivity of Civil Partnerships to same-sex couples, famously lost their case at London’s High Court in January.
But as of Friday, the Isle of Man will be the first UK country to offer equal rights to both marriage and Civil Partnerships to all.
Commenting on the implementation of the new Act, Chief Minister Allan Bell CBE MHK, said: “I believe that the values of fairness and tolerance reflected in this legislation are shared by the overwhelming majority of our population.”