A Seven Year Anniversary of Civil Partnerships

Publish Date: 04/12/2012


Civil partnerships in the UK were granted under the Civil Partnership Act 2004 to give same-sex couples rights and responsibilities identical to a civil marriage. Civil partners are entitled to the same rights as married opposite-sex couples. These include property rights, exemption on inheritance tax, parental responsibility, tenancy rights, social security, pension benefits and next of kin rights in hospitals.

Beginning with Demark in 1989, civil unions under one name or another have been established by law in several countries in order to provide legal recognition of relationships formed by unmarried couples and to afford them rights, benefits, and responsibilities similar (and in some countries, identical) to those of legally married couples.

In 21 countries same sex couples are now allowed to enter a civil partnership, they include Colombia, Austria, Ireland, Andorra, Hungary, Isle of Man, Jersey, Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Ecuador, Luxembourg, Finland, Slovenia, Switzerland, Germany, Greenland and the UK.

Many countries with civil unions recognize foreign unions if those are essentially equivalent to their own; for example, the UK lists equivalent unions in Civil Partnership Act Schedule 20. This means, in some cases, non-Britons from nations with civil unions will have greater rights in the UK than in their native countries.

The first civil partnership in the UK took place on the 5th December 2005 betweenMatthew Roche and Christopher Cramp at St Barnabas Hospice, Worthing, West Sussex. The statutory 15-day waiting period was waived as Roche was suffering from a terminal illness: he died the following day. The first partnership registered after the normal waiting period was held in Belfast 19th December 2005.

Between December 2005 and December 2006 18,059 couples entered into a civil partnership. Between then and 2011 a further 26,630 couples have entered into civil unions around the UK. In September 2011, the succeeding government announced its intention to replace civil partnerships with same-sex civil marriage in England and Wales by 2015 at the latest.


The Lesbian & Gay Foundation have launched a new campaign to encourage people to fight for equality and support same-sex marriage.

Whether you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or straight, or if you plan to get married or not it’s incredibly important that you make your voice heard in support of this important issue.

Take Action now: lgbt.foundation/equal