Happy New Year for opposite sex couples who want a civil partnership
Opposite sex couples will be able to enter into a civil partnership from 31 December this year.
The House of Lords, in one of its final acts before parliament was dissolved for the general election on 12 December, approved the final orders for the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths Act to be implemented.
As a result, opposite sex couples will now have the choice, formerly restricted to same-sex couples, of either picking a civil partnership, which brings the same legal rights as marriage, or tying the knot.
Couples will be able to give notice from 2 December allowing the first civil partnerships to be registered on New Year's Eve after the usual 28 days notice.
The campaign to extend civil partnerships to opposite sex couples was led by Rebecca Steinfeld, 37, and Charles Keidan, 41, from London.
They took their battle to be allowed a civil partnership, which brings entitlement to the same legal treatment in terms of inheritance, tax, pensions and next-of-kin arrangements as marriage, to the Supreme Court earlier this year.
The couple, who never wanted to marry, felt a civil partnership fitted their beliefs and ideologies far better and argued that being excluded from having a civil partnership was discriminatory.
The Supreme Court agreed, ruling that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 - which only applies to same-sex couples - was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.