Proposal to extend civil partnerships under scrutiny

A proposal to make civil partnerships available to different-sex couples is to be scrutinised by MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee.

The committee has issued a call for views on the Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, which would amend existing legislation to allow different-sex couples to have a civil partnership. Currently this option is only available to same-sex couples.

This bill follows a UK Supreme Court ruling which found this difference in treatment between same-sex and different-sex couples breaches human rights law.

Speaking as the call for views was launched, committee convener Ruth Maguire MSP said: “Same-sex couples who wish to formalise their commitment to each other currently have the option of either civil partnership or marriage. However, different-sex couples only have the option of marriage.

“This bill aims to address this anomaly, allowing all couples the choice between a civil partnership or a marriage.

“The committee wants to find out if this approach is the best way to ensure equality between all those who want to formalise their relationship.

“We want to hear from individuals and organisations on whether they support extending civil partnerships to different-sex couples, if this the right option to pursue, and whether the new legislation will have any impact on human rights or equality issues for any particular groups of people.”

The call for evidence, which is open until 31 January 2020, can be found here.

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