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At the moment, only those in same sex relationship’s have the option of entering into a civil partnership. Currently, couples in a heterosexual relationship are not able to enter into a civil partnership.
Civil partnerships were introduced in the UK in the Civil Partnership Act 2004. The Act came into force in December 2005, with the first couples forming civil partnership that month. The Act allowed same sex couples to formally recognise their relationship, which provided similar rights to those enjoyed by married couples.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 legalised marriage for same sex couples in England and Wales, although civil partnerships also remain available to same sex couples.
For those couples in opposite, or heterosexual relationships, the only option currently to formally recognise their relationship is to get married. There have been a number of challenges through the Courts to this, arguing that it is unfair and discriminatory to not allow opposite sex couples the same rights as same sex couples.
During the summer of 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that it was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 is only an option for opposite sex couples. The ruling does not change the law, but it does make it more likely that the Government will now do something to allow opposite sex couples the same rights as same sex couples.