Our family law partner William Longrigg has been quoted in The Times today in support of the introduction of opposite sex civil partnerships with effect from 31 December 2019 following the Supreme Court case brought by Steinfeld and Keidan.
Other than by accident of recent legal history, there was no reason for civil partnerships to be restricted only to same-sex couples and indeed from next year that will no longer be the case. A victory for good sense and gender equality.
On the other hand, William also highlights the tragedy of the demise of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill, a casualty of the early election call, along with the much lauded Domestic Abuse Bill which had aimed to protect victims of domestic abuse from cross-examination by their former partners and broadened the definition of domestic abuse.
If passed and enacted, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill would have cured the anachronistic mischief and unhelpful charade that still requires couples to attribute 'blame' to the other in order to bring the marriage to an immediate end. One hopes cross-party support for these two Bills is sufficient to see their repeated inclusion in the next Queen's Speech and that proper Parliamentary time can be found for them amongst the endless Brexit rumblings on. The change is long overdue.
Mixed-sex couples will be able to enter civil partnerships from 31 December.