Allow civil partnerships for different-sex couples

02 November 2016

Around one in five London households are made up of a cohabiting different-sex couple.

The London Assembly today backed an appeal against a High Court decision preventing a different-sex couple from forming a civil partnership. 

The Assembly agreed a motion concluding that the law preventing different-sex couples from forming a civil partnership is unfair.

Caroline Russell AM, who proposed the motion said:

“Whatever the outcome of the case currently being heard by the Court of Appeal we should be unequivocal in our support for different-sex couples forming civil partnerships.

For true equality the law should properly reflect the values modern couples hold, and their desire to have these principles reflected in the legal recognition of their relationships.
London is a forward-facing city and we should not hesitate to push for this next step to provide a legal alternative to marriage.”


Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, who seconded the motion said:

“There is a strong case that extending civil partnerships would help ensure greater stability for many families.   If just one in 10 cohabiting opposite-sex couples entered into a civil partnership, that would amount to legal protection for some 300,000 couples and their children.  

Couples of the opposite sex should be able to formalise their commitment to their partner and have the same rights, responsibilities and protections in the eyes of law that exist for same sex couples who already have the choice of entering into a civil partnership or into marriage.”


The full text of the Motion is:

“The Assembly notes that whilst same-sex couples are able to form a civil partnership, different-sex couples cannot.
The Assembly acknowledges that approximately one in five households in London consist of a cohabiting different-sex couple.
The Assembly believes that the current legal situation which prevents different-sex couples from forming a civil partnership is unfair and prevents these couples from being able to get legal recognition for their relationship in a way that matches their values.
The Assembly recognises that City Hall has often been at the forefront of efforts to extend rights and liberties: in 2000 it introduced the first ever registration scheme for same-sex couples.

The Assembly calls on the Mayor to support the equal civil partnerships campaign and urges him to make representations to the government for a change in the law if the Court of Appeal rejects Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan’s appeal against the High Court’s decision to reject their application to form a civil partnership.”


Notes to editors

  1. Watch the full webcast.
  2. The motion was agreed by 16 votes for, to 0 votes against.
  3. Caroline Russell AM, who proposed the motion, is available for interviews. Please see contact details below. 
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.