LONDON, September 14 – A new
publicity campaign to tell gay people what they need to know about same-sex
civil partnerships was launched by Deputy Equality Minister Meg Munn at
Westminster Register Office today.
The guidance gives people
information about how they can register their civil partnership and what
their new rights and responsibilities are in areas like tax, pensions and
Meg Munn chatted to couples who
will be registering their partnerships and met with the Superintendent
registrar Alison Cathcart and Council Leader Simon Milton.
“Civil partnership is a landmark
change in the law that will give gay and lesbian couples many of the same
rights as married partners,” the minister said.
“The Government is committed to
equality for al,l and in our modern society it is only right that gay and
lesbian couples who have made a decision to share their lives should be
given the recognition they deserve.
“It is ridiculous that we have had
a system that does not recognise the relationship of a gay couple who may
have lived together for 20 years,” she said.
“One partner could be excluded from
the funeral if the other died, or lose their joint home because of
“I am really happy that civil
partnership gives same-sex relationships the recognition they should have,”
Westminster Council will be
welcoming couples for civil partnerships from December 5th 2005.
“Seventy couples have already been
in touch with us to book their civil partnership registration, Council
Leader Simon Milton revealed.
“Westminster is the most popular
place in London to get married and we would also like to be the most popular
location for civil partnership registrations.”
The new government guidance on
civil partnerships will give couples information on:
* How to register their
* Where to get more information on
new pension and tax rights;
* New responsibilities in the
treatment of social security benefits and child support; and
* Information for couples who have
already registered their partnerships abroad.
The Civil Partnership Act received
royal assent in November 2004 and will come into force on December 5. From
that date couples will be able to give notice at a Register Office that they
want to register a civil partnership and will be able to register after 15
days, from December 21 (in Northern Ireland, 14 days and from December 20,
though Government has yet to officially confirm this).
The first Civil Partnership ceremony in the United
Kingdom will probably be in Northern Ireland
The Civil Partnership Act closely mirrors the
legislation for civil marriage. The major difference is that there is
no legal requirement in the Civil Partnership Act for the partnership to be
“consummated”, and that
infidelity is not a ground for dissolution
The Government is publishing an
information booklet on civil partnership which will be circulated widely,
including to Citizens Advice Bureaux, Libraries and Register Offices. This
booklet can be downloaded from
Information leaflets will also be
circulated through inserts in the gay press and through lesbian and gay
venues across England and Wales.
Detailed guidance and more
information is available on the Women and Equality Unit website.
Women and Equality Unit