As the LGBT and mainstream news is abuzz with the momentum toward same-sex marriage in the UK, what about people coming from abroad to the UK who have formalised a same-sex relationship elsewhere in the world?
From 31 January 2013, the number of overseas same-sex relationships that are specified in legislation so that they will be treated as civil partnerships in the UK will be extended. When Civil Partnerships came into UK law there were fewer countries which offered some recognition of same-sex relationships – so there are 25 equivalents to civil partnership which in British law are already treated as UK civil partnerships.
A lot has changed around the world since 2004 though, so to bring this up to date, a further 50 will now be added, bringing the total to 75. The Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Overseas Relationships) Order 2012 was laid before Parliament last week to do this.
Some countries appear more than once in the new schedule: for example there are separate entries for the same-sex marriage laws in each of the US states that now recognise equal marriage or have a system of civil partnership.
Women and Equalities Minister Jo Swinson MP said, “It’s great to see that so many countries across the world have legalised same-sex unions.
“The Civil Partnership Act 2004 was a significant milestone in UK history. So it’s completely right that we now ensure our law reflects these changes and set an example for other countries to follow.
“This change to the law will make it quicker and easier for couples overseas to determine whether their overseas relationship will be treated as a civil partnership in the UK.”
The amendments will make it easier for couples to determine if their relationship is likely to be treated in the UK as a civil partnership, and will also help UK public authorities and businesses to identify their legal status.
You can read the amendment legislation here.