The British government has reported that previous consultations on the future of civil partnerships were inconclusive. It has therefore issued this: The Future Operation of Civil Partnership: Gathering Further Information.
This raises the possibility of opening civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples or of abolishing civil partnerships for the future. Here’s how the document begins:
The Church Times reports (scroll down) that:
Support for civil partnerships. Civil partnerships should not be abolished, the Church’s Director of Mission and Public Affairs, the Revd Dr Malcolm Brown said this week, after the Government’s Equalities Office suggested that their future was uncertain.
In a paper published last week, the Office says that, if demand for civil partnerships remains low, “this might suggest that same-sex couples no longer see this as a relevant way of recognising their relationships, and that the Government should consider abolishing or phasing out civil partnerships entirely.”
There were 890 civil partnerships registered in 2016 in England and Wales, down from an average of 6305 from 2007 to 2013. The paper says that, by September 2019, a “proportionate amount of evidence” will have been gathered to enable the Office “to be confident in the ongoing level of demand”.
“We believe that Civil Partnerships still have a place, including for some Christian LGBTI couples who see them as a way of gaining legal recognition of their relationship,” Dr Brown said. “We hope [they] will remain an option.”
We recently published an article reporting on how civil partnerships had been viewed in 2007: Civil Partnerships: a look back at 2007.
Michael Sadgrove has drawn attention to an even earlier article we published, in 2006: civil partnerships: another bishop’s view.