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Marriage and Civil Partnership

Marriage and Civil Partnership is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. The Act aims to protect people from direct and indirect discrimination, and victimisation on the basis of a person being married or in a civil partnership.

Find support, initiatives, and guidance relating to marriage and civil partnership here.


Equal Marriage and Civil Partnerships

Following the passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, in England and Wales marriage can either be between a man and a woman or between partners of the same sex. Equal marriage was also legislated for in Scotland in 2014 (with the passage of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill) and in the Republic of Ireland in 2015 (following a referendum in which 62% of the population voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage).

Same-sex marriage is not currently legally recognised in Northern Ireland. But, in July 2019, MPs voted in favour of an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill, which will extend marriage equality to Northern Ireland by 21 October 2019, unless devolution is restored by that point.

Following a Supreme Court ruling in June 2018, civil partnerships in England and Wales can be either between a man and a woman or partners of the same sex. The Civil Partnership, Marriages, Deaths (Registration etc) Act 2019 brought in processes to allow people to convert a marriage to a civil partnership.