Married couples will be able to swap their marriage for a civil partnership, under new proposals being considered by the Government.
The Supreme Court last year gave its support to the idea that civil partnerships should be available to heterosexual as well as homosexual couples. Ministers are now consulting on how to implement the court ruling.
They are proposing a “conversion period”, during which married couples may switch to a civil partnership.
Equalities Minister Penny Mordaunt claimed the proposals were being put forward because there are “all sorts of reasons” people would rather not marry, but felt obliged to choose it because of the legal security it provides.
She said offering “an alternative to marriage” was a “fantastic step”.
Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute said: “While ministers present this as a credible alternative, civil partnerships are simply marriage-lite.
“It’s profoundly undermining to marriage that the Government wants to give married couples the right to downgrade their marriage to a civil partnership.”