Saturday, 15 June 2013

Civil partnerships review – terms of reference and timetable

The Government Equalities Office has published a policy paper which sets out the terms of reference and timetable for a review of the operation and future of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA) in England and Wales.

See this announcement dated 13 June: Future of Civil Partnerships review to start in autumn 2013

Terms of Reference published for a formal review of the Civil Partnership Act 2004

The Government has today announced its intention to launch a full public consultation in the autumn to kick start a review of the future of Civil Partnerships in England and Wales.

During a debate in the House of Commons of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, concerns were raised by MPs over the issue of civil partnerships and their role in light of same sex marriage legislation.

To ensure these issues are fully understood the Government tabled an amendment to the Bill which would allow for a formal review of the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

Read the Terms of Reference for a formal review of the Civil Partnership Act. [Full text copied below the fold]

Civil partnerships review – terms of reference and timetable

Purpose

To review the operation and future of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA) in England and Wales.

Objectives

To carry out a full public consultation, assess the evidence and publish a report on

  • The functioning and operation of the CPA in England and Wales;
  • The future of civil partnerships in England and Wales, including whether they should apply to all couples; and
  • Options and recommendations for changes to civil partnerships in England and Wales.

Scope

The review of the CPA will cover England and Wales and will

  • Examine evidence about how well the current arrangements for civil partnerships are working, drawing on views from the public and organisations with an interest and international comparisons
  • Assess the need and demand for civil partnerships when marriage is available to all, and whether any changes to civil partnership arrangements are necessary
  • Identify all the implications of and issues raised by the identified options (including risks and devolution issues)
  • Assess the costs and benefits of the options
  • Make recommendations for any changes to the operation and future of the CPA.

Timetable

We are currently conducting policy analysis and gathering evidence to inform the document we intend to publish for full public consultation after the summer recess, subject to Royal Assent of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. This consultation will seek views from stakeholders and the public and will run for approximately twelve weeks. We will also commission research where necessary to fill any gaps in the evidence base. We will then analyse responses to the consultation and all other evidence obtained to inform decisions, and publish a report of the outcome as soon as a decision is taken. We anticipate that this will happen by winter 2014.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 15 June 2013 at 10:49pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: equality legislation
Comments

It's not 'gay marriage' which will undermine the traditional sort. It's extending civil partnerships to opposite sex couples which will do what is so feared. There wil be many who will take this opportunity to gain all the benefits of marriage without the historical and patriarchal baggage. Those Christians who have been trying to kill the equal marriage bill by advocating this measure are going to have to face the consequences of their own duplicity.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Sunday, 16 June 2013 at 8:22am BST

Well the Church of England response to this is going to be interesting - grab some popcorn, this is going to be fun.

I have wavered all over the place on the question of equal Cps, though am strongly against discontinuing them for same Sex couples (at some future point it is easier to discontinue if restricted to same Sex couples).

I was though very strongly moved by Tim Loughton's speech on this in the Commons debate.

It may be there is no demand for CPs for opposite Sex couples. Well and good no harm done giving people the choice. It may be a massive success - if a lot of people spontaneously choose CPs it can't be a bad idea. We have to trust people to make the right decisions in their lives. The biggest social policy challenge is the number of cohabiting couples with few if any rights. CPs won't fully solve the problem - again the State can only do so much but if a couple of thousand couples have protection that otherwise wouldn't I consider that a big success in a humane and caring social policy.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Sunday, 16 June 2013 at 11:50am BST

For those of us who think that separation of church and state is a good thing, the ideal is that everyone who wants to get hitched, SS and opposites sex, should get a civil marriage, and have a religious marriage only if they so choose. It may be a foreign concept to members of CoE, but in some places clergy are very uncomfortable with being "agents of the state." Of course, liberal churches have been barred from performing marriage, so they haven't exactly been enjoying Freedom of Religion, have they? (That's US and UK.)

In this scenario, everyone has equality under the law. And the churches get to decide who they will and will not marry. People have the freedom to choose liberal, moderate, or conservative denominations or parishes. I know there's a very strong wrinkle in that for CoE. I'm also keenly aware that the US does not have this nirvana yet either.

Just a thought.

Posted by: Cynthia on Sunday, 16 June 2013 at 7:15pm BST
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