POLITICS

Civil Partnerships For Heterosexual Couples In Scotland

21/06/2013 14:39 BST
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Straight couples will be allowed to have civil partnerships in Scotland, the SNP government in Edinburgh is set to announce.

Next week the Scottish government is set to unveil its plans for gay marriage. The Herald Scotland reported on Friday that legislation to introduce heterosexual civil partnerships will not form part of the same-sex marriage bill, ministers will promise to look at introducing them at a future date.

A source told the paper: "There is a growing consensus around allowing mixed-sex couples to enter civil partnerships. It would be too complicated to achieve by an amendment to the bill but there is a commitment to take it forward."

The move mirrors amendments made to the Westminster government's gay marriage bill. Under pressure from a unlikely alliance of anti-gay marriage Tories and the pro-gay marriage Labour Party, the government agreed to launch a formal review into the future of civil partnerships.

Civil partnerships are currently restricted to gay couples. Conservative opponents of gay marriage have argued that allowing gay men and women to marry while denying straight people civil partnerships is a new form of discrimination.

The backbench Tory concern was attacked at the time as a "cynical" ploy designed to derail gay marriage - rather than a genuine concern for equal rights.